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Recovery will be hard, but 'KC Strong' is proving to be more than a slogan

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Feb 16, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As hospitals help the wounded recover, therapists offer free care to help people cope, and police work to bring justice, KC Strong is not just a slogan — it's the city at its best.

KSHB 41 anchors and reporters have told the stories of dozens of people working together to bring the sense of community back where it was as the Super Bowl champion Chiefs marched through the city with hundreds of thousands of people sharing in their joy.

It's the nurse who gave a man CPR during the chaos after the celebration, acts of kindness as confusion gripped the rally crowd and other, less known, but equally important contributions.

“Our community is full of hundreds of thousands of people that were first embarrassed that this happened to our community,” said Robert Duensing, with Best Regards Bakery and Café. “After the embarrassment, we realized this is happening everywhere. We’re not unique, but what is unique is how we choose to respond to it.”

Duensing hopes his idea of a "KC Strong Cookie" will help lift up their customer's spirits.

“One small baby step that makes you feel like you’re making progress toward a bigger solution,” Duensing said. “We’ve always seen examples where a business will say, 'A portion of the proceeds will donate to blank.' As a consumer, it’s always bothered me because I don’t know what that means; where it goes. My wife Sharon and I got together and talked about it and said, 'You know what? Let’s donate 100% of the sales to 'KC Strong.' That way everybody knows where the money is going, what it’s going to do, and they can do something that they feel like right now makes a difference.”

Duensing said people can pre-order a box of six cookies or stop in for a $3.99 cookie with all proceeds going to the KC Strong fund.

A spokesperson at Children's Mercy Hospital, whose doctors, nurses and staff have been treating the injured, said all the compassion and generosity is felt, calling it “truly amazing.”

In the 48 hours after the shooting, the hospital received teddy bears, food and more than $75,000 in donations.

Buffalo Bills fans stepped in to support shooting victims.

“The first thing you think of is, 'What can I do, how can I help?'” said Del Reid, co-founder of Bills Mafia.

Reid said donating $22 to Children's Mercy Hospital is a great way to support the recovery.

The number 22 is the number of known shooting victims after the shooting at the end of the Super Bowl rally.

An order from 600 miles away in Cincinnati was filled at Insomnia Cookies in Kansas City.

Jazmin Havens, a shift leader at Insomnia Cookies, filled an order from Cincinnati's Children's Hospital to send 100 cookies to the staff at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

“We got an order — it was from our hospital sending it to their hospital in support of the nurses and children still there,” Havens said. “The thought of having to treat children after something like this - it hurts my heart. If we can bring warmth, kindness, and goodness to others, we should be able to do that.”