During an average day, 80 to 100 families walk through the doors of our Emergency Assistance Center (EAC) in Kansas City, Kansas. Some need aid feeding their families or paying rent or utilities. Others are there not just because they’re needing help, but they’re looking for hope.

Up until recently, that EAC, which included a food pantry, was housed in a small space in our Central administration building. With the demand for food and other services continuing to grow, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas decided it was time to make a move.

Although it didn’t go far, the change is big. The new space is in the same building, but now occupies a much larger and brighter area, which can be easily accessed. In addition, it features a spacious lobby for those who are waiting for services.

Perhaps the biggest change is the size of the self-shopping food pantry. “Our food pantry looks amazing. There’s plenty of room to display our non-perishable items,” says Maria Reyes, EAC Manager. “More importantly, we can accommodate up to six shoppers at a time – twice as many as before. They can choose from a greater selection of food appropriate for their families’ dietary and cultural needs.”

Also, there’s a new freezer offering healthier perishable items including fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, yogurt and more. Plus, there’s an additional storage area right next to the pantry, so shelves can be easily re-stocked.

“We understand that it’s hard to ask for help,” adds Reyes. “We strive to provide as welcoming environment as we can for those we serve.”

Catholic Charities has seven Emergency Assistance Centers and eight food pantries which are open Monday – Friday. Services vary by location. For a listing of Emergency Assistance Centers and hours visit online at: catholiccharitiesks.org/emergency-assistance/