This week I’m yielding my space to Kara Joy to give us the year end report and invitation to participate in Kendall-Whittier Inc. I’m the vice-chair of the board, and am glad to have her leadership as the Executive Director–she’s made some real headway in our community. As you can see from this newsletter and last week’s, there’s a lot happening in and around UUMC!
Kara Joy writes,
“I honestly don’t know how we are going to make it to next month” was not the answer our food pantry volunteers expected when they delivered groceries and asked “How are you today, ma’am?”
The recent cut to SNAP food assistance has made this answer too common for our Kendall Whittier neighbors, but thankfully you at University United Methodist are part of the solution. As a component congregation fulfilling its ministry through Kendall Whittier Inc. (KWI), you have supported emergency food assistance to our neighbors in need.
But that is not all.
With each delivery of a week’s worth of food, we offer information about other services based on the needs of the families in crisis. A family in crisis may not know what they need beyond food on their child’s plate, but when we ask what caused their emergency we can learn if they need a connection to Tulsa Job Corp, Growing Together, Community Health Connection or other local support services. The Emergency Food Pantry’s efforts extend far beyond a single emergency by connecting neighbors to other dignified options to help them help themselves.
The reach of our food pantry has been greatly extended by our new Hispanic liaison. She has already built many new connections and trust with our Hispanic neighbors, many of whom are still new to learning English and in need of our helping hearts and hands.
We are maintaining a strong focus on food and nutrition to do as much good as possible with limited resources. KWI is a frugal ministry that relies on part time staff and donations, but our impact is growing through our strong partnerships with other organizations. Whether you donate some of your time to volunteer or send a vital contribution that supports our services, you become one of those partners to create a better life for children and families in our neighborhood.
This year, with your support, our GROW community teaching garden moved to a new location and began a new partnership to reach out and welcome adult gardeners, as well as continuing our work with elementary school students. The food from the garden goes directly to the GROW students. The feeling of pride and inspiration they get from being able to put food on their family table is a sight to see!
Our team is optimistic about the future of KWI and our work with University United Methodist. As we close this year and turn inward to reflect, we invite you to reach out and individually connect with us. If your time is short but your heart is full of care, send us whatever donation works for you and be confident that we will put it to good use in the community.
You may send us a check at: Kendall Whittier Inc., PO Box 4165, Tulsa, OK 74159-0165.
If you want to be involved in another way, please fill out our survey at www.kendallwhittierinc.org At our website, you can give us your contact information as a volunteer or request a full report of our activities.
We are doing great work and you are already a part of that! As the new Executive Director of Kendall Whittier Inc., I want to thank you for all you have done and ask that you keep up the great work.
Many thanks and blessings for your holidays and the New Year!
Kara Joy McKee
Kendall Whittier, Inc.