With over 12,500 square miles, the service area of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas is vast. And because those in need can’t always travel to one of our eight Emergency Assistance Centers, we take our services to them through our Mobile Resource Buses.
For the past four years, a Catholic Charities’ case manager, aboard one of the Mobile Resource Buses, has traveled to Osage City to provide rent, utility, food and clothing assistance to their local and surrounding community. Unfortunately, with so many miles to cover, Catholic Charities’ presence in Osage City was limited. That is, until our Outreach team connected with Jeanette Stromgren, Director of the Osage City Library.
Stromgren generously offered up space in the library to serve as a “pop-up” food pantry and clothing closet, as well as a place to conduct healthy cooking demonstrations. Additionally, Fr. Larry Bowers, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Osage City, garnered local volunteer support from the parish to help staff this extra endeavor.
Camille Pickhinke, Catholic Charities’ Parish & Community Outreach Coordinator, helps train the volunteers to assist those in need. Local volunteers run the food pantry and clothing closet. They also provide books, diapers and fresh produce.
“This is a great opportunity to be a presence in the rural communities and to equip volunteers with an avenue for ‘neighbor to serve neighbor’,” says Pickhinke.
During a recent training, Pickhinke and volunteers, Kathy Lincoln and Dee Thompson, were able to assist 13 families with food and clothing. Case Manager, Jacob Schooler, was also on hand to provide rent and utility assistance.
Stromgren says the library is happy to team up with Catholic Charities and help those struggling in Osage City. “Our partnership with Catholic Charities expands the services they have been providing for years in our community. They are an additional resource locally in helping meet the needs of families and individuals,” concludes Stromgren.