It’s time to get busy and help the needy in this community. One such event that will help the needy is coming up Friday, as Cross-Lines will hold a fundraiser for utility and rent assistance, a 5K walk-run at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Theresa Swartwood, director of public relations for Cross-Lines Community Outreach, said needs are increasing in the community, especially for rent and utility assistance. That’s why the agency is holding its second annual benefit walk-run. Registration for the 5K benefit walk-run is $35 for adults and $15 for kids.
Already, 300 people had signed up by Monday for the 5K nighttime walk at Sporting Park, she said. Registration will be held on-site at 8 p.m. Friday and the walk begins at 9 p.m. Participants also may register online through the Cross-Lines website at www.cross-lines.org/.
With family budgets, everything is interconnected, so as food prices increase, it affects people’s ability to pay for rent and utilities, she noted.
“They’re stretching their budgets as much as they can, and food prices are going up,” Swartwood said.
It could get worse in the future, as cuts are being proposed at the federal and state levels to programs that help the needy. People in need of assistance then turn to the local community agencies for help, such as Cross-Lines, the food pantries and other community agencies.
If proposed cuts are made to the federal food stamp program, called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, it also might be well for residents to consider setting a little money aside now to give to the needy. Traditionally a county with a high degree of poverty and unemployment, Wyandotte County would suffer if cuts are made to the program. Cuts to the food stamp program are under discussion in Washington, D.C.
Cross-Lines offers some breakfasts and lunches, and prepares healthy lunches in its annex building in order to help residents learn how to eat healthy foods, Swartwood said.
“We suggest preparing meals with fresh vegetables,” she said. “But when they go to the store, fresh vegetables are the ones that cost the most. That’s why it’s hard for so many of our families.”
If prices would go down a little, more people could eat a more healthy diet, she believes. Until then, Cross-Lines Community Outreach has a community garden and uses the produce in the lunches that are prepared there, and makes fresh garden produce available in its food pantry, she said.
Those who use Cross-Lines services have to qualify and bring in documentation, the same that has been required in the past, she added.
She anticipates that if federal assistance is cut to the food stamps program, Cross-Lines and the other agencies will see increased numbers at the food pantries and at the meal programs. It would likely deplete the supplies more quickly at the food pantries, she said.
“It does have an impact on all charitable organizations that are trying to meet the needs and feed the hungry,” Swartwood said.
Agencies such as Cross-Lines are likely to play a more important role in the coming years as more and more cuts are being discussed at the federal and state levels. In order to be adequately prepared for the increased needs, the community needs to start preparing now for it.
To contact Mary Rupert, editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.