Here’s how we were able to impact the community in 2020:
We established a new partnership with aSteam Village to sponsor 30 kids for summer camp.
We assisted 32 University Academy families with gift cards for groceries.
We assisted Clay, Jackson, and Platte county residents with their rent and utility bills, assisted with evictions of up to 3 months, and aided the homeless.
We established a new partnership with Platte Senior Center to deliver care packages to home-bound Seniors.
We provided over $50,000.00 in additional funding for pantries.
We worked with Total Man CDC and targeted the homebound to give 50 households up to $100.00.
We provided 44 employees who were laid off from Zona Rosa with up to $100.00 for their families.
We established a new partnership with Soiree Steak and Oyster House to provide 50 school lunches a day to kids in summer school until June 26th.
We partnered with Truman Medical Centers Mobile Market to provide families with fresh fruits and vegetables.
We established a new partnership with Impact Resource Center to assist with their food and toiletry drive through to help families affected by COVID-19.
We continued to provide support for our food and toiletry pantries partners.
We collaborated with Palestine Senior Center to deliver 180 boxes of food to Seniors in their apartments.
We provided 60 employees who were laid off from the airport with up to $100.00 for their families.
Our partnership with Harvesters – Community Food Network allowed us to serve many more individuals and families in 2020. Check out the video below to see the impact we had on so many people when they needed our help the most.
The whole point of what we do here at CAAGKC is to help people move out of poverty and become financially independent. Below are just a few of our stories of success. These stories will inspire you and help you remember that you are not alone in this fight. CAAGKC is here to help you reach your goals and be all you can be. Do you want to share your success story with the community? Let us know.
Nicholas and Tabitha
It had been a difficult fall for Nicholas and Tabitha, to say the least. Tabitha had developed some major health issues and was unable to work. And just like that, half their income disappeared. Nicholas worked as a cook at a local restaurant, and although it was a good job, his wages didn’t cover all their household bills and the steady stream of medical bills that had begun to arrive. Each day they were falling further and further behind. When they arrived at CAAGKC they were already three months behind on their rent and about to lose their utilities.
Pride made it hard for Nicholas and Tabitha to ask for help. It was nothing they wanted to do. They had always made ends meet on their own and had never had to ask for help from anyone. But after a few months they knew if they didn’t speak up soon and find some help, they would surely become homeless. For them, bit of wounded pride was an easier pill to swallow than living on the streets.
That is how Nicholas and Tabitha came to the doors of CAAGKC, with wounded pride. After a quick evaluation of their needs, they were accepted into the case management program. Their case manager was able to help them catch up on their utility bills and get back on track with their landlord. And as Tabitha’s medical crisis subsided, the couple was able to start putting a little money away each month and still pay down some of their old debit. Within six months of being in the program, Tabitha started classes to become a Veterinarian. To supplement her education and the couple’s income, she started working at a local animal hospital.
After just ten months in the program, Nicholas and Tabitha were able to get caught up on all their bills and amass a healthy amount of savings. In less than a year, this family went from near homelessness to being able to take a sun-filled Florida vacation, paid for in full with the money they saved.
Nicholas and Tabitha had to swallow their pride and ask for help, and it wasn’t easy. But now they can take pride in all they have accomplished, how far they have come. And we know Nicholas and Tabitha are going to be able to maintain their household and remain self-sufficient for years to come … and that’s something to be proud of.
Margo and Demetrius
It can happen to anyone. One day you are working at a good job, living life and raising your child, and the next moment everything you have worked for is in jeopardy. Margo and Demetrius had been high school sweethearts. They had just begun building their lives and a home together; working hard and saving what they could. Soon, little Meko was born and things were pretty typical; just your standard American working family. Like most of us, they didn’t put much thought into the “what ifs” in life. Every day just blended into the next. That is, until Margo got sick.
No one asks to get sick, it just happens. Margo suffered a stroke and was subsequently diagnosed with a serious heart condition. She was hospitalized for several months. Demetrius tried to keep up while Margo was in the hospital, but it was too much. He had missed too much work taking care of his young son and ailing wife, and was let go from his job. Margo was also released, as she was in no condition to work. The two were left with a pile of medical bills and nothing else. They lost everything: their apartment, their savings, and their livelihood. They were reduced to living in their car. All they had left was each other … and a little bit of hope.
Hope was what brought this family to the doors of Community Action Agency of Greater Kansas City. They needed help and were committed to getting back the life they had lost. We immediately began to work with them to secure safe and decent housing. We worked with them on their budget, went over a debt reduction plan, and showed them how to rebuild their savings. We worked with Demetrius to sculpt his resume and polish his interview skills. It was not an easy path to follow. They had to sacrifice. But the end goal was worth the price. With their drive to change their situation and our supportive services and caring staff, this family was lifted from poverty.
Today, Demetrius has a good, secure position at Ford Motor Company and Margo works as a private duty nurse. They have re-established their credit and built up their savings enough to purchase their very first home. It is a dream come true for this courageous family and a far cry from being homeless and hungry. And the best part is that little Meko is happy and healthy, living with his mom and dad, and is looking forward to having a bedroom of his very own.
Like many high school juniors, Tanesha wasn’t exactly sure what she was going to do after graduation. She was raised in a less than ideal neighborhood and college seemed like just a pipe dream. But Tanesha had the opportunity to join a select group of students participating in the PAVE the Way program. PAVE works with high schoolers from low-income families, helping them develop leadership skills and explore career options.
In poor urban neighborhoods, like the one Tanesha grew up in, college seems like an impossible feat. But PAVE teaches students to be resilient and exceed expectations; to PAVE their way to a better life through higher education. Tanesha would never have been able to afford to visit colleges and hear about all the wonderful opportunities there are for bright young minds willing to learn. She would never have known education could excite and inspire, but PAVE lit a fire within her. PAVE encouraged her to dream big.
After her first year in the program, Tanesha was approved for a summer internship with CAAGKC. This internship gave her real-world experience dealing with people in a professional environment. She was able to brush up on her customer service and communication skills, in a safe and nurturing environment.
The following school year, as a senior, Tanesha continued with the PAVE program. She learned how to ace a professional interview, build a resume that gets noticed, set goals for future success, and more. Using the skills learned through PAVE, Tanesha landed a great job at the local library. Her new employers were impressed with both her professional demeanor and her well-crafted resume.
She also participated in the second round of college tours. This time the group visited several colleges outside of the metro area, including Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. Tanesha had received a full scholarship to the small college but was hesitant to accept it. The idea of going to a school so far from home, in a new city, was pretty frightening. But after spending some time on campus, talking with faculty and students, she felt more at ease. Thanks to the college tour provided by PAVE, she felt confident that accepting the Harris-Stowe scholarship would be a good move for her future.
For 26 years, Carol has lived in her home. It has been the scene of numerous birthday parties, holiday dinners, and visits from the tooth fairy; holidays spent in the kitchen and vacations spent on the porch. Many joys (and sorrows) have run through the halls of her home, leaving behind the telltale scuffs and scratches of age.
Over the years, Carol tried to keep the house up. But what were once little maintenance issues, with time and inattention, have now turned into extensive and expensive repairs; things that are beyond Carol’s single income. The siding on her home was damaged and falling off. The back door was so weathered and water damaged, it barely opened, but looked as if one swift kick could easily turn it to rubble. Her home was cold and drafty. It was no longer a place her family wanted to gather. No more birthday cakes to celebrate another trip around the sun. No more holiday turkey slow roasting in the oven. What was once a comfy and cozy first home, become Carol’s maintenance nightmare.
Last Fall Carol received an excited call from her ex-husband. He was so thrilled she could barely understand him. With all the hoots and hollers you would have thought he had won a million dollars. Once he had regained his composure, he explained he had just qualified to have his home weatherized, for free. He explained that qualifying for the CAAGKC Weatherization Program was like winning a homeowners lottery. He explained the process and encouraged her to apply.
Carol, along with several of her neighbors, took part in the Kansas City Power and Light’s offer for a free energy assessment, to gauge energy usage in her neighborhood. Carol’s house had by far the worst rating. But she was determined to make her house a comfy and cozy home again. Not wanting to be last in among her neighbors, Carol applied for CAAGKC’s Weatherization program.
Since the CAAGKC Weatherization Program is only available to homeowners once, the organization worked hard to address each and every energy concern in Carol’s home. From the furnace to the attic fan, the missing siding to that rickety old back door, no area was left untouched. A properly sealed and vented fan was added to her bathroom, a plug was added to her fireplace to stop the cold winter winds from whipping through the house, and insulation was added to the walls to cut down on drafts. Her water heater was also wrapped in insulation, like a nice warm blanket, to reduce heat loss and save Carol money on her water bill. And just to be safe, two carbon monoxide detectors were also installed.
Carol’s home is now the most energy efficient home on the block, and she is the envy of all her neighbors. Since her Weatherization experience, she can now rest easy knowing her home will be both comfortable and safe for many years to come.
Vonzell Garth has been with CAAGKC since 2014. Garth was a part of our P.A.V.E The Way program and received a scholarship each of the 4 years he was with us. He was also an intern for our Weatherization Program in the summer of 2015. Garth graduated from Hogan Prepatory Academy in 2016, and made his way to MCC – Penn Valley for college.
In 2017, Garth received a scholarship from MCC as part of the Henry W. Bloch Scholars Program. This scholarship provides students the opportunity to earn an Associate’s Degree from MCC – Penn Valley and continue on to the University of Missouri – Kansas City to earn a Bachelor’s Degree.
Garth graduated from UMKC on May 16, 2020 with a 3.2 GPA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal Communications. He minored in Sociology. In October of 2020 Garth left for the military as a Combat Rescue Officer in Special Warfare on a 6 year contract. He says he plans to make a career out of this and is considering going back to school for his Master’s Degree in the near future. Before he was deployed, Garth was working for Children’s Mercy Hospital in their Environmental Services Department.
With the help of Community Action and the scholarships he received, Garth was able to graduate college DEBT FREE!! He received a laptop, food, toiletries, and more throughout his time with us, and he couldn’t be more thankful for the help CAAGKC provided. “Man, ya’ll really came through for me,” Garth said.