Mission at capacity for Thanksgiving meals, faces kitchen woes - KCTV5 News

Mission at capacity for Thanksgiving meals, faces kitchen woes

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Bill Lindsay/KCTV5 Bill Lindsay/KCTV5
KC Rescue Mission kitchen (Sandra Olivas/KCTV5) KC Rescue Mission kitchen (Sandra Olivas/KCTV5)

A rescue group that feeds the needy said they are no longer taking orders for Thanksgiving meal deliveries due to overwhelming demand.

But kitchen construction may complicate delivery of those meals and force the Kansas City Rescue Mission to seek help from another group or restaurant.

This is the first year in which the mission has booked up for home delivered meals this far in advance of the holiday. The meals typically go to the elderly, but this year there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of calls from families with young children.

Anyone calling now for a home-delivered meal gets the following message, "I regret that we have taken all the Thanksgiving orders that we can handle for this Thanksgiving season. Please consider calling a local church about public Thanksgiving dinners in your area."

Tammy Foster is one of the volunteers that helms the mission's meal hotline. She said she was surprised at how fast they reached the 500-meal limit.

"That's a good thing and a bad thing because we want to reach out to the community and serve them," she said. "It's a blessing to be able to do that. But I feel there's way more need out there than we are able to serve ... we don't have the wherewithal to serve them."

A cut in food stamps and increasing costs for groceries are believed to have fueled the demand, Foster said.

The mission hopes others will step up to help the mission serve more needy families at Thanksgiving.

"We would like to partner with some churches if they would like to step in and help with those needs," Foster said.

The nonprofit may need even more help due to a renovation of its kitchen, which serves 240 meals daily to the homeless.

Construction crews are working feverishly to get the project down in time for Thanksgiving. The project originally called for replacing the rundown stove and other equipment, but other hidden issues were discovered.

"We had mold, crumbling dry wall from wetness that had seeped into the walls. We had drainage issues that made us replace part of the floor. There were so many issues with this kitchen that we literally doubled the cost from around $100,000 to around $200,000," said Julie Larocco of the Kansas City Rescue Mission.

If the work isn't completed in time, the nonprofit hopes a restaurant or church with a commercial kitchen will step up and share their space with volunteers so that the desperately needed Thanksgiving meals go out without a hitch.

"They are counting on those meals so we really want to make them happen for them," Larocco said.

The mission is at 15th and Cherry streets.

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