Cross-Lines Community Outreach emergency financial assistance.

In an effort to assist working poor families, Cross-Lines Community Outreach provides support services as well as referrals to partners in Kansas City. There are a few areas in which the charity focuses, and they include offering rent and security deposit assistance for housing needs. Families facing hunger can use the pantry or get a meal from the Annex Kitchen. They also offer other financial aid and basic needs, such as baby supplies and more.

Food and basic needs from Cross-Lines

The Cross-Lines Community Food Pantry provides at most three days' worth of free groceries or fresh food. The items are given out to each low-income family that is a client. Many of the people turning to the pantry frequently experience difficulty in keeping up with paying their bills and in putting food on their tables as they live paycheck-to-paycheck. Other clients have short term, unexpected emergency.

When the cupboards allow, the food packages include shelf-stable groceries, fresh produce, dairy, meals for the elderly, and frozen ground beef or turkey. Cross-Lines Community Outreach makes every effort to offer healthier options, including low-sugar cereals, infant formula, low-sodium canned vegetables and soup, yogurt, and whole wheat pasta. The Food Pantry receives donations from generous local businesses, churches in Kansas City, civic groups in Johnson County, and individuals.

Warm, freshly prepared meals are given to those facing hunger. Located at the Don Bakely Community Annex, the Cross-Lines Community Annex Kitchen serves food including breakfasts and lunches to those in need. It operates Monday through Friday.

Not only that, but the charity provide people who are heading off to work or a job training sessions with  lunch boxes so they have food while at work. The Kitchen at Crossroads also feeds numerous children during the summer, when free school lunches and other school-provided meal programs aren't in operation. The Community Annex Kitchen relies heavily on volunteers from Wyandotte County to keep it running year round. They may come from church groups and community organizations to prepare and serve meals.




The breakfast and lunch menu is extensive. The menu often includes cereal, oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, pancakes, fruits, and anything from sandwiches to dairy or spaghetti for lunch. The goal of the annex is to make healthy food such as fresh fruits and/or vegetables available at every meal.  The Commodities Program's army of volunteers as well as full time staff ensure that the boxes of groceries are assembled and delivered each month to senior living complexes throughout the community.

The USDA - Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides monthly boxes food to low-income seniors. It is paid for using US Department of Agriculture's funds and helps people living in Johnson, Wyandotte or Leavenworth Counties. Along with the USDA-provided food, Cross-Lines distributes a monthly box of groceries to seniors or parents with children.

The Community Garden and Orchard from Cross-Lines is a location that is one-quarter-acre lot on the site. This site is essential to providing fresh, nutritious food in the community to working poor families in counties such as Leavenworth. Each month, volunteers from the charity harvest thousands of pounds of fruits and other produce, which is served in the Community Annex Kitchen and distributed at the Pantry referenced above.

Cross-Lines Community Outreach will also offer Garden produce for purchase by Kansas City members at a very reasonable cost. In partnership with a local non-profit known as Giving Grove, Cross-Lines has planted an orchard made up of pear and apple trees. This allows even more fresh food to be served.

Cross-Lines also offers assistance so clients can create their own gardens. They can pick up tools, raised-bed gardens, dirt, wheel barrels, and seeds to members of the larger Kansas city community who would like to tend their own gardens.

The individuals who use this program just need to agree to work the garden on their own. They keep all of the fresh produce they grow. This greatly needed service, which can keep families getting health fresh food from their own garden, could not be in operation without the hard work as well as dedication of members from the community.

The Nutrition Education Service from Cross-Lines offers food demonstrations, classes, newsletters full of tips, coupon, and information on healthy living. It also covers gardening to demonstrate to low-income families in Kansas City as well as Wyandotte County that they have the ability to provide for their families. Clients can learn where to get nutritious, affordable foods, save money on groceries, and more for their families to enjoy.

The Cross-Lines Wellness Workshops cover a range of topics, such as health, finance, nutrition, debt reduction and relationships. Topics and presenters vary from month to month, and sessions are held for both Wyandotte and Johnson County families.




At the Cross-Lines Community Outreach Don Bakely Community Annex which is run by the charity, they offer basic needs. This includes hot, nourishing meals, clothing, and warm showers each morning before breakfast is served. Cross-Lines full time staff and volunteers also take in and launder clothing for pick-up the next day. For many of the clients of this annex, including those homeless and people in poverty,  these are vital services that reinforce hope as well as dignity in times of greatest need.

A low cost Thrift Store sells essential household items. What is available depends on what is stocked, but it may be dishes, furniture, clothing, and major appliances. The goods are sold at minimal prices that are affordable for low-income families.

All proceeds from the sale of goods are used to support their financial aid programs and operations. The Thrift Store also presents a great opportunity to donate items that people no longer use, especially those for which Cross-Line has a high demand, including Knick-knacks, small appliances, dryers, stoves, and refrigerators, Bath and Bedding, Furniture, chairs, sofas, dressers, kitchen tables, and chairs, as well as kitchen items and/or Housewares.

Free diapers may be passed out to clients, including single moms in Kansas City, in partnership with HappyBottoms. Cross-Lines Community Outreach believes that every baby as well as infant should have an adequate supply of clean diapers as well as baby formula, even though they can be quite expensive. To ensure that infants are both happy and healthy the center will partner with groups such as HappyBottoms to provide a monthly supply of diapers to babies under the age of three.

Personal hygiene items such as toilet paper, deodorant, soap, and toothpaste are necessities in everyone’s life, but those goods can be expensive. Also, benefits such as USDA SNAP Food Stamps do not pay for them. To assist, Cross-Lines' Hope Tote Program provides low-income Wyandotte County families with a selection of hygiene items, toiletries and cleaning supplies, packed in a Hope Tote bag.

The items can be brought back after 2 months to be refilled. The Hope Tote Program from the Kansas City agency relies heavily on toiletry drives, donations, money raised from the community and volunteer support.

The Cross-Lines Community Outreach Christmas Store provides a yearly opportunity for hundreds of struggling parents to select free gifts as well as toys for their family members. The presents can include food, new clothing, coats, Christmas stocking, toys, and household items needed for a holiday dinner. Cross-Lines volunteers and staff are dedicated to helping parents provide their families with a joy filled Christmas.

Financial help and other social services

Many working poor families live week to week on their income. They may be one paycheck away from a financial crisis. Unexpected expenses, or a short term reduction in their working hours, can cause challenges. When a household is faced with an unexpected medical or car repair bill, or if their child gets sick, the crisis can threaten their housing stability. Some even fall behind on their rent even to the point of becoming homeless.





Cross-Lines Community Outreach Housing Stability Program offers rent and mortgage help. It assists families so they can find and remain in a safe and affordable home. It will help them with paying some of their rent and utilities, in addition to re-housing services.

Case managers help families with meeting these immediate needs of rent and energy bills and with achieving the long-term goal of financial stability. The service has the ultimate goal of preventing evictions and keeping families together in their homes.

The first step for everyone who seeks the financial assistance the non-profit's Housing Stability programs is to meet with a case manager. During this session they will evaluate needs and review their income. The staff member will conduct financial assessments and connect with landlords and utility companies. Each clients has their own goals and unique needs, and case managers work alongside each person to address their current and future needs.

The Homeless Rapid Re-Housing Program helps homeless individuals in Kansas City find and move into stable, affordable housing. It combines financial aid, such as grants for a security deposits, with guidance. This is done to stop future evictions as there is a tremendous amount of stress that homelessness has on families. The agency will also strive to move families and individuals into sustainable housing as quickly as possible.

The Rent Assistance Program from Cross-Lines promotes stability by helping families who have received eviction notices. The charity may issue a loan or government grant for back rent to resolve financial issues.

Utility bill help is also available for helping to keep families warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This service is a vital part of the Cross-Lines mission. The Energy Bill Assistance Program helps struggling Kansas city residents avoid service termination. It will help with heating bills and other needs, while it assists with restoring service for those whose utilities have been disconnected.

The Medicine Cabinet ensures that those without proper health insurance coverage have access to necessary emergency medical services. The Cross-Lines medical program provides emergency dental care, 30-day supplies of free prescription medications, eye exams and prescription glasses, and a limited selection of durable medical equipment.

Cross-Lines Community Outreach education and employment services

Education is arranged by Cross-Lines. This is an important key to financial stability as well as life-long success. To give every child or even an adult an opportunity to be successful in life and school, the annual Cross-Lines' Back-to-School Program furnishes free school supplies such as backpacks filled with items for school-aged children and youth. The objective is to make sure that children start school with the clothes as well as supplies they need to be successful.

Access to a computer is critical in this day and age. This is almost a requirement for a successful job search. The free to use Cross-Lines Computer Lab is an open lab environment where job seekers can connect with area resource, apply for jobs, review employers, update their resumes, and more. The non-profit also offers computer classes to community members interested in learning how to develop a strong resume, use a computer, search for local employment, send emails.

The purpose of the Cross-Lines Community Engagement Program is to build and strengthen the community. The focus is on Kansas City's Armourdale neighborhood only and people that live there. Cross-Lines works with the Armourdale Renewal Association to provide services and organized events that strengthen the community as a whole and each client.

There are a wide range of resources provided. For more details, Cross-Lines Community Outreach is located at 736 Shawnee Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas 66105. Dial  913-281-3388.

By Jon McNamara

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