Wow. 2020. What a year. The struggle and pain has been like nothing we’ve seen before. But we’re also seeing people reach out and help one another, speak out for others, lend a hand and give a little extra if they can. This #GivingTuesday, we want to say how grateful we are for the power of community and for those who give their time, lend their voice and donate to KC Healthy Kids. Here are just a few things you can feel good about helping us accomplish:
Families can use free tech to stay connected with educators, social services and distant family. Humans are not made for isolation. What’s the first thing we want to do when tragedy strikes? Reach out, give a hug, hold a hand, share a meal. So, while it’s risky to be in close contact with others, we’re providing tablets to help families connect to our staff for support and assistance. Our community navigator, Luis Colon, helps families find employment, apply for public assistance and access health and mental health providers.
Families are getting the mental health support they need. Families are worried about the virus, and the social isolation necessary to slow its spread is leaving everyone anxious and depressed. Many are facing the added stress of caring for and schooling kids or losing their job or home. The emotional burden is immense. Our renowned licensed psychologist, Dr. Nancy Osborn, is providing trauma training and support to hundreds of hard-hit families in eight metro early care and education centers, and partnering with mental health providers to engage in treatment.
Families are getting free fresh produce and helping local farmers while they’re at it. We’ve maxed out production at Splitlog Farm and Orchard and are purchasing surplus from local farmers to provide fresh produce to families and child care centers. Since March, we’ve helped hundreds of families across the metropolitan area. Early care and education centers have partnered with us to serve healthy lunches and snacks to the kids in their care, too.
Teachers and students have resources to help them lead community projects. In the middle of the spring semester, when teachers were scrambling to find quality resources for distance learning, we retooled our youth advocacy materials for virtual use. Currently, teachers in 118 classrooms across the bi-state region are using the lessons with their students. We also launched a virtual club where kids can connect over Zoom with other kids and hear from special guests like artists, mental health professionals, farmers, chefs and elected officials.
Farmers and the people they feed can count on our policy team when crisis hits. Our policy team helped farmers and families find up-to-date information on food pantries, free meals, food policy and physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. They rallied advocates to speak out for protecting food chain workers, for expanding Medicaid, and for emergency aid packages that benefit the most vulnerable. In the midst of the stay-at-home order, they compiled policy guides to ensure that Kansas and Missouri farmers could continue to sell safe, accessible and affordable fresh food at markets during the pandemic.
Mary Bosco Heinrich, MPH*
Kelly Bailey Eames
Randal O. Carlson, JD*
Kris Chatrathi, PhD, PE*
Creative Circle Kansas City
Kavitha Dileepan, MD, MPH*
Darryl Dwayne Hairston Jr
Dr. Dick Gregory
Rick and Tracey Headrick
Stanley and Emily House
Colonel and Mrs. Ramon C. Noches
Lucinda Noches Talbert
Dara M Norwood
Jenny Pearson, CPA*
Don and Barbara Robbins
Charles & Elizabeth Schellhorn
Shaun Gregory and Patricia Suellentrop
Jennifer and Paul Vanberg
Steven and Janet Walker
Greater KC Food Policy Coalition Pollinators
Ann Van Zee
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation
Black & Veatch Foundation
The Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
George W. and Ada Heath Ultch Memorial Fund
Hartwig Family Foundation
Health Forward Foundation
Helen S. Boylan Foundation
Jim and Michele Stowers Foundation
John J. Sullivan Jr. Charitable Trust
JR Albert Foundation
Kansas Health Foundation
Miller Family Foundation
PNC Financial Services
REACH Healthcare Foundation
Stanley H. Durwood Foundation
Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS
William J. Brace Charitable Trust
We also want to show our appreciation to the coalition of charitable, government and business partners who have created the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to address Kansas City needs during the pandemic. The Kansas City region is known for its philanthropy and industry-leading best practices. This coalition is another example of Kansas City metropolitan area generosity.
*Thank you to our board of directors for supporting KC Healthy Kids as volunteers and donors.