Jewish Family Services support hundreds of families during pandemic; Merriam creates virtual community center

Volunteers at the Jewish Family Services food pantry are preparing to serve families at both locations in Overland Park and Kansas City, Mo. Photo courtesy Jewish Family Services.

Jewish Family Services support hundreds of families during pandemic

Jewish Family Services, which has a location in the Jewish Community Campus in Overland Park and another in Kansas City, Mo., is serving more families than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization offers a food pantry pick for its clients from noon to 2 p.m. every Tuesday at the Overland Park location. From both of its locations, the organization has recorded serving more than 500 families each month. It expects to serve 900 families by July. The Kansas location has pantry pick on Tuesdays from noon to 2 p.m.

Pre-COVID, clients would come in and shop –  much like a grocery store. But COVID-19 social distancing guidelines forced JFS to “pivot” while continuing to serve clients.

Among the changes made:

  • Switched to preparing nutritious food boxes for clients.
  • Created schedule with our clients to pick up food boxes, while taking all precautions with gloves and masks.
  • For those who could not pick up their food pantry volunteers make deliveries so that no one goes without food.
  • Volunteers wear masks and gloves, to ensure that none of our clients are exposed to them risking their health.

The also continue to take donations of goods to keep the pantry shelves stocked- at the Jewish Campus Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or in Brookside location by appointment.

Editor’s note: This news item is updated to clarify that Jewish Family Services only serves its clients. The pantry is unavailable to the general public. To ask about becoming a client of Jewish Family Services, call 913-327-8250.

SM North Navy ROTC takes home first place in national academic exam

The SM North Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) concluded its season by earning first place over 54 competing schools who took the NJROTC National Academic Exam. The exam asked students to answer questions related to the NJRTOC curriculum. The SM North NJROTC had planned to compete in the NJROTC National Drill, Athletic and Academic Championship when the schools closed for the rest of the academic year. This year marks the 15th consecutive year the SM North NJROTC qualified for national competition. The corps concluded its competition year with a record of 42-0.

Rep. Sharice Davids calls for release of list of small business loan recipients

Citing concerns that large companies are getting relief funds at the expense of local small businesses, Rep. Sharice Davids called for the release of the complete list of businesses that have received emergency small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

In a letter to Treasury Department and Small Business Administration leaders, Davids noted that Congress has allocated nearly $700 billion in tax-payer money to help small businesses pay their workers and stay afloat through the PPP. Davids reported that large, publicly traded companies have received these loans before small businesses.

“I’ve heard from small business owner across Kansas who are struggling to access relief loan programs while large corporations with deep pockets are having no problem,” Davids said. “These agencies must release the complete list of businesses that have received these small business loans, so Kansans can see how their tax dollars are being spent. Companies that can’t withstand public scrutiny of their businesses dealings while receiving federal taxpayer-funded loans shouldn’t be receiving them at all.”

Merriam creates virtual community center during coronavirus pandemic

The Merriam Parks and Recreation Department created a virtual community center filled with content to keep people busy during the stay-at-home orders. Categories to choose from include kids activities, outdoors and wellness, and virtual tourism.

Each category includes a number of different ideas and activities to explore, with both educational and creative options. New activity ideas will be shared daily on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page here. Visit the virtual community center here.