Downtown Food Drive Launched to Help During Covid Crisis

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An Ambassador from the Downtown Community Improvement District picks up a food donation. (Photo from Downtown Council)

The Downtown Council Community Improvement District is collecting food donations throughout May to help replenish smaller food pantries serving families and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The FEED KC program allows donors, either downtown businesses or residents, to text the Ambassadors of the Downtown CID who’ll then come to their location and pick up their non-perishable food donations.

Sean O’Byrne, CID executive vice president, said the food collection effort is part of an array of new tasks the Ambassadors have taken on since the Covid-19 crisis hit Kansas City.

“We’ve found there are opportunities for us to do things out of the ordinary because there’s less cleaning and maintenance required downtown,” he said.

The CID is working with the city, parks department and Streetcar Authority to operate and maintain portable toilets throughout greater downtown to serve the homeless population. Charging stations also have been set up for the homeless to use for electronic devices.

The food drive is a supplement to the Downtown Council’s support of NourishKC, which prepares meals for the homeless. NourishKC was forced to leave its dining room at 750 Paseo Blvd. temporarily two months ago after its building was flooded by a broken pipe.

O’Byrne said repairs should be completed and Nourish KC should be back in its dining room next week.

The food drive is aimed at serving smaller pantries connected to Nourish KC that serve families and individuals.

“People can call or text and say they have food to donate, put it at their door and we’ll pick it up at a certain time,” he said. “We’ll then give it to Nourish KC and they’ll give it to the individual pantries.”

The FEED KC program was launched a week ago and O’Byrne said the response from downtown businesses and residents has been great.

“During the first week, we collected enough to fill a 55-gallon drum,” he said.

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