NON-PROFIT COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD
KC Shepherd’s Center is the original Shepherd’s Center, founded in 1972 by Dr. Elbert Cole, serving as the model for now 56 Shepherd’s Centers across the country.
Kansas City Shepherd’s Center, not only provides much-needed services but engages the community to support a sometimes-underserved population, senior adults.
For 50 years, their mission has been to support, celebrate and empower older adults, fostering independence and connection. KCSC offers a unique peer-led platform of services aimed at helping senior Kansas Citians stay active and involved, get the care they need, remain independent as long as possible in their own homes, and age well in place. Their model is “of seniors, by seniors, for seniors,” reflected in our senior volunteers, our governance structures, and our programs. Two examples of the organization’s most impactful programs are Meals on Wheels and KC Rakes.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, KCSC delivered some 50 meals per week to eligible clients. Due to the quarantine, especially among vulnerable senior adults, that number ballooned to 1000. At the request of MARC, KCSC’s service area was also increased to include four counties. The quarantine also affected the number of volunteers available to deliver the meals, as many were seniors themselves. KCSC met this dramatic challenge by recruiting new volunteers and finding donors to provide new staff and delivery vehicles, and they have been serving this expanded client base for more than two years.
KC Rakes is a partnership of businesses, organizations, schools, and other volunteers. In 2022, 325 volunteers raked the yards of 40 clients. This boosts the spirits of the home-bound clients by cleaning up their lawns and by showing them people care about them, which reduces their feeling of isolation. Sponsorships by businesses, including Suburban Lawn & Garden, offset the cost of 100 rakes and 1500 leaf bags. Organizations such as South KC Rotary, Rockhurst High School, Girl Scouts, and more provided volunteer rakers. As an aside, with their introduction to KCSC through KC Rakes, a team of South Kansas City Rotary members has volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels.
Finally, KCSC recognizes senior adults who continue to serve as role models for seniors through their work, community service, and volunteerism. Every year they honor “Seventy over 70” seniors for their continuing work; past honorees include familiar South Kansas City residents Joe Fahey, Bill and Bo Stueck, Alvin Brooks, Ann Ohare, Chuck Loomis, Rep. Joe Runyons, John Sharp, and many others.