Lee’s Summit’s One Good Meal still needs financial backing

rpulley@lsjournal.comOctober 2, 2013 

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    One Good Meal .5K “Run, Walk, Skip, Jump or Roll” is to help pay for meals for shut-ins. The walk is 8 a.m. Oct. 5, Harris Park with $15 registration or $5 for over 60 or under 12 years old, to register go to www.onegoodmeal.org or call 816-547-6394.

Community response to financial trouble at One Good Meal has started to fill the gap but that Lee’s Summit agency is still many thousands of dollars in the red.

A spot-check of a couple of Lee’s Summit non-profit efforts that have gotten underway recently shows mixed results. A program to provide rides for older residents is launching as expected, but Coldwater Village, which was to provide housing for residents with disabilities, is on hold.

In early September, The Journal reported that One Good Meal was about $18,000 in arrears with its vendor for meals.

Executive Director Roberta McArthur said this week that the agency had an up tick in donations of about $3,000, still far short of what it needs.

Saturday One Good Meal will hold a half-kilometer walk at 8 a.m. at Harris Park, but only about 20 people have registered for that fundraiser. It’s a one-third mile event, for fun, not exercise. Hy-Vee is to provide breakfast and drinks.

McArthur said she might be approaching churches to sponsor clients, as a way to begin getting the deficit under control. She said One Good Meal desperately needs corporate sponsorships to remain viable.

“I’m at wits end trying to figure out how to go about it,” McArthur said.

Coldwater Village on hold

A year ago community leaders announced a capital campaign to raise about $2.8 million to build Coldwater Village, which would provide housing for people with developmental disabilities.

The vision, for its first phase after raising $350,000, was to build villa apartments for 12 residents, with a community room, a club house and offices for Coldwater, an affiliated social service agency. The initial start didn’t generate much response and with leadership changes at Coldwater, the village has become a back-burner project.

Rachel Cash, executive director of Coldwater for about two months, said that agency is doing very well on its mission of providing food for Lee’s Summit children and other people in need.

But the Coldwater Village capital campaign was struggling and with turnover in the agency staff it was decided to put the village project on hold.

Cash said she needed time to get familiar with the agency and work on support for its already operating services, such as the No Hungry Kids program cooperating with schools.

Agency leaders intend to revive the capital campaign later, she said. She said that charitable giving overall is still strong.

Coldwater Village is a separate non-profit but affiliated with Coldwater’s leadership.

“They’re passionate and excited about it, there’s still an incredible need,” Cash said. “We want to give some more thought about how we’re going to go about it.”

ITNGreaterKansasCity is slowly pulling away from the curb

The plan is for an area-wide agency where older or visually impaired residents can get rides, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, for a reasonable fee.

The pilot project is in Lee’s Summit. It depends on volunteer drivers using their own vehicles to give rides to seniors.

Co-directors Suzy Makalous and Kim Johnson see it growing into nearby communities and Kansas City. It is modeled on similar services in cities like Chicago, Portland, Memphis and Orlando.

Makalous said the agency has hired dispatchers and would finish drivers training it started in September, with a soft launch of service this month.

It has a new telephone number, 816-500-4377, to call to schedule rides.

She said riders at first may be on a short waiting list as the agency finishes training additional drivers but they have gotten a good response from volunteers.

Makalous said the program wants to make sure everything is running smoothly before it starts scheduling a lot of rides, so that it doesn’t disappoint its clients.

“Things are coming together for us,” Makalous said.

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