Service agencies seeking donations to assist those in need

Nov. 24—Organizations around St. Joseph are gearing up to assist those less fortunate as the holiday season draws near.

Area agencies are looking for a variety of donations and volunteer help to aid those in need. The United Way of Greater St. Joseph partners with 17 organizations in the community, many of which are looking for holiday help.

Jodi Flurry, director of community investment for the United Way of Greater St. Joseph, said a variety of assistance is in demand.

"One thing that is usually highly needed is socks, especially for those who are on the streets," Flurry said. "If your feet get wet and cold, it can have a huge impact on your health and safety."

The United Way has posted a publication on its website at called the Volunteer Center Holiday Guide that people can check to find out what is needed.

"It's a list of all the agency volunteer opportunities and giving needs specific to the holidays," Flurry said. "This is a great opportunity for people to be involved over the holidays to give back to our community and help people have a better holiday season."

The Salvation Army of St. Joseph is most known for its bell ringers, and there are several ways the money they collect helps in the community. Major Ronald Key said the organization provides temporary housing to families in need. Since its shelter space was renovated in December of 2019, it has housed hundreds of families who stay for an average of 80 days.

"About 80% of people who leave our shelter get permanently housed," Key said. "It's just a place where the families can be together in a safe area and get their lives in order."

In addition to cash in the kettles, the organization also is looking for food to be donated to its pantry. But the biggest need right now is clothing to keep people warm.

"We have plenty of coats. We don't always have enough hats, gloves, scarves and warm socks to get people," Key said.

The organization also is looking for toys to be donated as the Christmas season approaches. This provides presents to children whose families can't afford toys on Christmas morning. The program will assist about 150 kids.

Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph assists communities in 27 counties in Northwest Missouri. During the last fiscal year, the agency impacted 8,609 people.

Ashley Everett, director of marketing and communications for Catholic Charities Kansas City-St. Joseph, said that with inflation, the holidays and rising prices everywhere, the need for donations is great.

Some of the more in-demand items Catholic Charites needs include peanut butter, canned fruit, oatmeal, newborn items and coats. Everett said there is also demand for canned meats that provide protein, but there are a couple of new trends in demand for food.

"We're starting to see an increase in people requesting organic food items and gluten-free food items as well," Everett said.

Everett said other ways people can give back and get involved include volunteering and donations of every kind.

We call all people of goodwill to join us. We have a large volunteer base and we are always looking for new volunteers," Everett said. "We have large barrels that we can lend to your organization, and you can have a food drive at your parish, place of work, your school."

Social service agency leaders said the St. Joseph community goes a long way in helping their causes.

"It's amazing the generosity of this area and how they give to support others who may be less fortunate," Flurry said. "The way people step up to serve and help those in need is remarkable."

Key agrees.

"Lots of people see the need. Lots of people have ways of helping," Key said. "We have people to help that probably need help themselves, but they see the needs of people less fortunate than themselves."

Everett said she is confident her agency and others will get the help they need.

"Our community is great. They always show up," she said. "They want to help, even when times are tough for us. It's blessing a lot of families."

Riley Funk can be reached at