A week in the life of Empowering Change Outreach and Services
If you are looking for opportunities to serve then we are looking for you! Many people ask what our day to day operations looks like and while we have set days that we try to adhere to in our outreach, the reality is that every day is an opportunity to serve and reach out to those displaced, dislocated and struggling. Every day is an opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of someone else no matter if you are behind the scenes or on the front lines. We welcome you. We appreciate you. We need you!
Day to Day Operations Many people have asked what a day and a typical week looks like for Empowering Change Outreach and Services. Every day can be different as needs are constantly changing for those living on the streets. Weather situations can cause us to dispatch emergency care items such as tarps to help with shelter; ponchos to help keep people dry; or in the dead of winter, hats, gloves, scarves etc... Each day is a day that you we try and make a difference in someone's life. While our day to day operations may differ from time to time due to the emergency needs of those we are serving we try to adhere to a structured week which would allow us to set an agenda and minister to those who desperately need help in these most difficult days.
A lot of work takes place behind the scenes. Generally on Monday's we sift through the massive amounts of messages we receive from people needing some form of assistance or another. We evaluate those requests to see what needs we can meet, and to make sure that we are good stewards of our resources. As personal resources are limited sometimes hard decisions have to be made. We evaluate those that we are helping by assessing what needs and services they may or may not be utilizing: W.I.C., Missouri SNAP/ Food Stamp Program, Housing Services etc. Then as we schedule a time to serve them we also provide assistance in helping them to fill out forms for services through other organizations. This is primarily done for families that we deal with. Then we start to address the week's needs for those displaced on the streets. In addition to the extremely long day of assessing needs and making arrangements to serve families and the displaced on the streets we are making phone calls on behalf of struggling families, arranging services to help them with transportation to medical services through our connected resources, or contacting other programs to see what is available as a resource for these individuals.
Care Packages and Food Boxes
Tuesday is a busy morning for us! Most of us start working around 5 A.M. As for me, my day starts with reading a devotional to help move my mind in a positive direction. Then for those involved in helping assemble the care packages we get busy putting much needed items together. Items such as a comb, wash cloth, non perishable food, water bottle, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks just to name a few of the many items we put in packages. As we have expanded our scope of operations the amount of time, people, and organization of resources continues to grow. This continues to be a struggle as the demands are increasing. Within the last two weeks we have had volunteers begin helping put together food boxes addressing community needs with items such as : Rice, Canned Vegetables, Meat products, Toiletries, etc. As we are able to reach and help more people we are constantly assessing needs on how to better serve them, and help them move toward self reliance. We continually look for opportunities to refer them to additional resources through other social programs that they may not be currently utilizing in hopes of getting them into shelter, off the streets, or to get the assistance they need for continued help with food and utilities, and other much needed services.
Wednesday & Thursday
Hitting the streets
When time allows we deliver food boxes and care packages daily. However, Wednesday is our "Scheduled" day for hitting the streets and distributing care packages to those in need. For those who are not on the streets we have people that deliver food boxes to families who are struggling in the local communities and surrounding Northwest Missouri areas. We encourage everyone to carry care packages in their vehicles so if they see a need they can immediately address it and help. In order to best serve the Northwest Missouri areas we have volunteers serving in Kansas City/Liberty, St. Joseph, and rural communities in the several counties of Northwest Missouri. It is not uncommon for several of our volunteers to be in multiple towns daily. Most do not finish until early evening, donating and giving of their time. We could not help or do what we are doing if it weren't people giving generously of their time and resources.
Addressing Sex Trafficking
This is the one area no one wants to talk about. I wish we didn't have to talk about it. The reality is that many on the streets have fallen victim to the sex trafficking trade. Men, women, and children all have become commodities in this very sickening industry. We are educating others as to signs of this horrific pandemic and are often helping in situations by providing services, referrals to places of shelter, mental health services and rescue operations in conjunction with other programs. Together we are all trying to make this world just a little bit brighter and a better place.
More - Hitting the streets and serving struggling families.
Saturday is used to evaluate what has been done during the week, and to specifically target individuals or situations that have immediate need. Sometimes this is exceptionally daunting as our resources are limited. There is no greater joy than serving others and helping them get on a path of self reliance.