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Ugly holiday sweaters help provide meals to homeless

Posted at 5:55 PM, Dec 12, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Last year City Thrift and Red Rack thrift stores sold more than 1,000 ugly holiday sweaters to provide nearly 2,000 meals to families in need in Kansas City.

Feeding hundreds of people three times a day is a huge undertaking, but the City Union Mission has done it for more than 90 years.

Dennis Chapman is the development officer for City Union Mission.

"Last night City Union Mission would have housed somewhere in the range of 350 to 450 people," said Chapman.

On Tuesday, managers from Olive Garden restaurants donated meals for lunch and served food to those living at the shelters.

Bobby Yancy has lived at the City Union Mission shelter for four months.

"This is great. The food is really good. I'm still taking medicine, so I have to eat good food, nutritious meals and they supplied that for me. That's how I've gained my health back," said Yancy.

Ugly holiday sweaters at 10 metro City Thrift and Red Rack thrift stores will also help provide meals for people in Kansas City.

If you buy a specially-marked sweater, a meal is donated to the City Union Mission.

Melissa Rhoades is the director of marketing for City Thrift thrift stores.

"We've been doing it for the last couple of years. We saw a 54 percent increase year over year from 2015 to 2016, and hope to see the same for 2017," said Rhoades.

The ugly Christmas sweater phenomenon has become a tradition for some. In fact, on Dec. 15, Alaska Airlines is allowing priority boarding for travelers who dare to don an ugly sweater.

It's a fun trend that's now making a difference in Kansas City.

"All kinds of creativity is used to provide food. America is a blessed nation and there should be no one in our country that is hungry," said Chapman.