Service Project a Winner

Volunteers and Donations Higher than Expected

The efforts of volunteers and the donations received exceeded expectations at the inaugural Day of Service for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Jan. 18. The event was organized to address the challenge of LGBT youth homelessness.

Instead of relaxing on the MLK holiday, more than 70 volunteers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Human Rights Campaign spent time assembling 135 personal care kits. They are being distributed to the homeless through Neighbor 2 Neighbor, an organization that provides food 365 days a year to anyone in need in the Kansas City area.

UMKC and HRC members donated more than $800 in items, including deodorant, ChapSticks, mouthwash, tissues, feminine products, socks and more in support of the cause.

Dr. Michael McCunniff and Dee Anne Wauthier, UMKC School of Dentistry, donated 100 toothbrushes and 100 tubes of toothpaste, and the Extended Stay Suites donated hundreds of bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion and bars of soap.

In response to the call to “take the day on, not off,” the volunteers also cleaned the Mary Kelly Center dance studio and the library, as well as cleaned and organized N2N closets and removed trash.

Their efforts could help address the challenge of youth homelessness. According to a study by the Williams Institute, The Palette Fund and the True Colors Fund, LGBT youth make up to 40 percent of homeless and at-risk youth. Also, according to a study by Center for American Progress, LGBT youth are eight times more likely to commit suicide if rejected by family members.

“Chris Piel, HRC Kansas City Steering Committee Co-Chair, said this Day of Service presented an opportunity for us to empower our community by helping each other,” said Angela Cottrell, governor for the HRC-Kansas City. “And, we were overwhelmed with volunteers and donations. Since this was the first year for the service day, we were pleasantly surprised with the results.”


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