Monthly parish-based collections generate thousands of pounds of critical food and hygiene donations for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and literally serve as a lifeline for the needy who patronize our eight food pantries. But daily donations from individuals and families who feel compelled to contribute and serve are just as essential.

If you want to get involved, particularly in these times of rising food inflation and growing need, consider getting creative, involving children, and having some fun in the process – just like an Atchison grandma has been doing.

For the second straight year, Diane Liebsch, her husband, Rich, and her grandchildren have displayed a fun way to serve, planning and holding a backyard “Target Kindness Carnival” benefiting Catholic Charities’ Atchison food pantry. The two-hour event consisted of 10 simple yard games brainstormed and set up by the visiting grandchildren. The most popular games included Slingshot Target, Rocket Target, and Target Bounce.

Game tickets cost 25 cents apiece or five for $1, and a lunch menu of hot dogs, chips, and drinks was set up for community members who turned out in droves following informal advertising and word of mouth. When the games ended, the children had raised $460. But that wasn’t all. One of Liebsch’s daughters and her employer each opted to more than match the proceeds, yielding another $1,000.

“Teaching our grandkids to give from their hearts has been so rewarding,” said Liebsch, retired principal of St. Benedict Catholic School and a current member of the Atchison USD 409 Board of Education. “Visiting the local Catholic Charities office and learning how the needs of others are met opened their eyes and their hearts.”

Following the carnival, the children headed to the store with their list of items most needed at Catholic Charities. They filled their shopping carts with energy bars, diapers, cereal, canned food, and personal hygiene items and then delivered them to the food pantry, leaving grandma and grandpa proud as could be.

“They carried out the plans, counted the money, purchased the needed items, and made the delivery,” Liebsch said. “From beginning to end, they were part of the process of making a difference.”

If a backyard carnival is not your thing, consider one of these options or something else entirely:

  • A family-centered or door-to-door food drive in your neighborhood (give advance notice of when you will be collecting items and money)
  • A phone-based appeal in your area
  • A Chiefs- or holiday-themed party where admission is a donation of nonperishable food

When your event ends, deliver donations to the nearest CCNEK food pantry. A list of locations throughout our 21-county area can be found here on our website.