The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.
I have had the opportunity to work with Kori Crouse who is chairing the Lazarus Ministries Committee a few times this fall, and her passion for this organization is contagious. Read Kori’s post below about the organization and come back the next few weeks for a more in-depth look at homelessness and hunger in our community. If you would like to support Lazarus Ministries, please attend Ham-Bingo night at Hamburger Mary’s this Thursday, November 6th from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
It’s easy to become comfortable. Concerned with our own life, desires and pleasure. But what transforms us is when we open ourselves to other’s suffering. That transformation changes people and people change the world!
On September 27th, members of the Lazarus Ministries Committee, Active Gold, the Civic Leadership class, the Impact Development Committee and the Board of Directors walked the “Trail of Tears.” We walked from 9th and Grand to about 10th and Troost and then back again. The Trail of Tears depicts the journey of the urban poor as they walk from agency to agency to receive services – whether it’s a hot meal, clean clothes or an overnight shelter.
The retired pastor from Grand Avenue Temple (where Lazarus Ministries is located) and a former homeless woman led us on the walk, stopping to explain the decay of downtown Kansas City, the plight of the urban poor and some of the locations that the homeless visit on a typical day on the streets.
One stop was “Jurassic Park”, named for the unnatural things that happen there: rapes, drug deals, and murders. Jurassic Park looks fairly normal in the daylight, even equipped with playground equipment. But, we were warned that you never want to be there after dark.
We also learned that downtown is swarming with the “Bumble Bees”, city employees who wear black and yellow, carry walkie talkies, and are typically first responders to any incidents. Their very presence at a bus stop in the evening puts a calm on the crowd.
Perhaps the most enlightening aspect of the walk was that it put a face to homelessness. It opened the eyes of our members – those that work high paying jobs, live in well-appointed homes, drive luxury cars and sip on Starbucks throughout the day – to the reality that our community is filled with people in need. We definitely can’t fix the problem of homelessness or urban poverty, but we can reach out in compassion to those that are struggling.