“We're privileged to be able to accompany them on that journey."
MLM volunteers are a special group, helping with everything from growing food to manning the annual Christmas Store. Here are some who serve as excellent examples.
Janet Taylor is a long-time MLM volunteer, but after her recent retirement, she decided to increase her service.
A former instructor at the Kansas School for the Blind, Janet had volunteered for years with MLM’s Christmas Store, Spring Fling and other events. Her first exposure to the organization was from her church, First Lutheran, where she and her husband, Dr. John Taylor, often collected food and other items to deliver to MLM. Then, in August, she began making weekly journeys to MLM’s Holmes Street center where she serves in the food pantry. The effort has given her a new outlook.
“You see a really wide range of people,” she explained. “There’s older people and some young mothers with children. It’s very diverse.”
Their stories are equally unique. “Some just lost their job or maybe they have an elderly person they’re taking care of. It’s really just amazing.”
She acknowledges that supplies are not always adequate and that much-needed items sometimes run short. She doesn’t complain and said the clients don’t either.
“Really, the clients are very friendly and very nice to work with,” she said. “It’s fun, and it’s given me a better idea of what MLM is all about.”
Paul Drown and his wife, Shirley, are also longtime MLM volunteers, serving each month at the Saturday Breakfast Ministry not far from the Holmes Street location. Paul also volunteers as a financial literacy coach in MLM’s Family Empowerment program. A retired banker, he’s become
a key component in helping clients gain financial success. On Saturdays, he’s become one of the
“go-to pancake cooks.” It’s not easy.
“That’s a hot kitchen,” Paul says with a laugh. “It’s one of the roasting corners of the world.” On his last visit, the volunteers served breakfast to 260 people, including many who returned for a second serving.
“I can hold my own with the best of them in a kitchen,” he added.
The financial program fills different needs. Part of the Family Empowerment effort that seeks to stabilize at-risk families with middle and elementary school children, the program helps share economic savvy and other skills that are often hard to find.
“They certainly come from a different socio-economic background than myself,” he explained. “They come from difficult situations, but they work hard and apply their skills to better themselves. They have a desire to dig themselves out and hold up their end. We’re privileged to be able to accompany them on that journey.”
Questions? Contact Scott Cooper at 816.931.0027 or ScottCooper@mlmkc.org.
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