This year’s Christmas Offering will go to three local partner agencies who are supporting our neighbors who are experiencing hunger and homelessness: Micah Ministries, Cross-Lines Community Outreach, and The Urban Farming Guys. Kelly Carpenter, Director of Development and Marketing at Cross-Lines, shares more about the work of this organization.

Cross-Lines Community Outreach has been on the front lines of providing critical hunger relief, housing stabilization and basic needs services in the Kansas City area for more than 50 years.

The organization was established in 1963 as “a place of hope” for those struggling with the hardships of poverty. We are a trusted safety net for the community in Wyandotte County. Our staff of 16 and more than 1,800 volunteers a year provide direct assistance to at-risk families, the elderly and single individuals struggling to make ends meet. Cross-Lines’ mission provides people in the Kansas City area affected by poverty with services and opportunities that encourage self-confidence, meet the needs of today, and provide tools for future self-sufficiency.

As you can imagine, 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for Cross-Lines and our clients. We are serving more than twice as many people as we were just a year ago, and the needs continue to grow as the pandemic continues, with many people still out of work and struggling to make ends meet. Unemployment benefits are running out this month. Evictions are ongoing and national moratoriums are ending. Utilities are being shut off every day. Many of the thousands of people we have assisted this year have never sought help before.

One of those individuals is Julia. When the pandemic hit, Julia, 60, lost her job and ended up living in her car. In the dark of night, she would seek out the best lit places — truck stops, ER parking lots, grocery stores — just to catch a little bit of sleep. She was terrified and wanted to feel safe, just for a moment.

Julia shares her story in this video.

We help people like Julia get back on their feet every day. And the need right now is overwhelming. Since March, Cross-Lines Food Pantry has distributed more than 300,000 pounds of food and in 2020 has served 18,000 people, nearly 40 percent of whom are children. The Housing Stabilization program has served more than 1,200 people with more than $276,000 in emergency financial assistance to help families avoid eviction or move from homelessness into housing.

In addition to the longtime programs at Cross-Lines helping people with housing and hunger relief services, Cross-Lines is leading the effort to create a cold weather overnight shelter in Wyandotte County to shelter those experiencing homelessness when temperatures fall below 20 degrees. Currently, there are NO existing shelters in Wyandotte County. Cross-Lines is also in the process of opening a daytime warming center in the former sanctuary space of our building. This will be a refuge for people trying to survive this winter.

Julia is grateful for the help she received at Cross-Lines, thanks to the help of longtime supporters like Country Club Christian Church.

To give to this year’s Christmas Offering, click here.