Month: October 2013

Big names doing big things

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It’s pumpkin season! Mayors from nine Missouri towns near Kansas City participated in the “Pumpkin Playoffs” last week to raise money for their preferred charities.

KU head football coach Charlie Weis has more than just football on his resume. He and his wife, Maura, founded Hannah and Friends, a nonprofit that offers residential housing and services for people with special needs. Their daughter Hannah moved into the facilities over the summer.

On a serious note, Dianne Ensminger of Ballard Community Services will resign at the beginning of November after serving as CEO for 15 years. Ensminger was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Her shoes at BCS will be hard to fill.



Heartland Community Health Center begins renovations on waiting area

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The nonprofit Heartland Community Health Center recently began renovations on its waiting area in an effort to make patients feel more comfortable in its facility. HCHC received a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the renovations.

The renovation process relies heavily on volunteers. Jon Stewart, whose background is in architecture, balances his usual duties as CEO of Heartland with working on the construction.

HCHC works primarily with low-income patients to provide them with healthcare, not “sick care.”

HCHC Transcript

The good, the bad and the downright ugly

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Need a reason to buy some beer? Probably not, but here’s one. Every three months, Boulevard Brewing Company donates 10 percent of one of its craft beer’s sales to several charities in the Kansas City area. This quarter, KC Pet Project will receive the majority of the donation.

Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen, and get ready for the transfer of wealth. The older generation’s money will soon be handed over to the younger, and most likely out of the local community. But wait, there’s hope! Keep 5 in Kansas is a program designed to keep that money in the community.

There’s a storm a-brewin’ in the world of welfare. Kansas Department for Children and Families rejected federal funding that would help lower-income people receive food stamps and child-care assistance. Local food bank Harvester’s alone lost out on over $14,000 of funding.

Mobile food pantry offers produce to struggling families

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After a brief pep talk, I stepped out of my car and into the brisk, morning air last Wednesday. I walked inside the big, aluminum building that housed a horse arena. I was an hour early, but more than 50 people covered in blankets and coats were already waiting in line.
On the third Wednesday of every month, Ballard Community Services hosts a mobile food pantry at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Anyone can show up to the fairgrounds and receive food, which is provided by Harvester’s Community Food Network in Kansas City, Mo.
I was nervous to talk to the people waiting in line. I did not want to be disrespectful toward them by bombarding them with questions. So I kept it simple. I asked them about their experiences with the mobile food pantry.
Everyone I talked to had overwhelmingly positive opinions.
Some concerns they voiced were transporting the food back home, the inconsistency of the types of food available and the quality of the food.
One woman in line, Diane, mentioned how one month she received molded raspberries. She did say that was very rare — almost always the produce Harvester’s brings is good quality.
I was out of my element here. I was worried about people not wanting to talk to me. Once I started talking to a few people, others came to me to strike up a conversation. I talked to Diane for about an hour longer than I had intended on staying.
Through this experience I learned more about the food pantry process. I saw the direct effects instead of only hearing about them.
I felt like a part of the system and not just an outsider looking in who does not fully understand the process.

Kansas Appleseed

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Kansas Appleseed, part of the national nonprofit organization Appleseed, made its way back to Kansas after a several year absence this August. Kansas Appleseed works with attorneys to assist with cases of injustice in Kansas.

For more information on how to volunteer with Kansas Appleseed, contact Benet Magnuson at

Kansas Appleseed Transcript

Spread the wealth across the world

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The zombie virus has spread to Lawrence. On Oct. 3, zombies took Massachusetts Street by storm after the KU homecoming parade. All donations were given to the virus-free Lawrence Humane Society.

Bacon, anyone? Farmland Foods donated $92,000 to Harvesters in Kansas City, Mo. The donation was part of Farmland’s “Bacon a Difference” campaign.  How many more times do I need to say bacon?

Have you seen any goats lately? Washington native Steve Wescott and his goat, LeeRoy Brown, are trekking across the United States to raise money for the UZIMA Foundation, a Kenyan charity. If you see them, give bad, bad LeeRoy Brown a scratch behind the ears.