Saint Therese is closely involved with our neighborhood and community. Working alongside Blue Hills Community Services (founded by former Saint Therese Pastor Father Norman Rotert), the Kansas City Police Department, as well as the Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) organization (formerly known as the Church Community Organization), the Kansas City affiliate of the national Pacific Institute for Community Organization, Saint Therese has played a leading role in improving the surrounding neighborhood through its efforts to remove drug houses, fight crime, and revitalize housing for elderly and low-income residents.
Saint Therese provides office space to house the Blue Hills Center of the Kansas City Community Action Network (CAN), which includes a code enforcement officer who works on nuisance/property maintenance code violations and two police officers who take reports and conduct other business, so that contacts can be performed in a community setting.
On September 22, 1999 Saint Therese was featured in a PBS documentary entitled "Seeking Solutions," a three hour program by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Hedrick Smith. The program includes five other groups/organizations from around the country, all of which have worked against crime, violence, and racism in an effort to better their neighborhoods and communities. The second part of the three part program focuses on the Blue Hills neighborhood and the role that Saint Therese played in taking back the neighborhood from drug dealers and the criminal element.
More recently, a parish member and Knight of Columbus became one of four individuals statewide recognized by the Missouri Catholic Conference with the Citizen Recognition Award. Quoting the MCC's news release dated 09/06/2012, the award is presented to Elliott Clark,"a victim of payday loans himself took to the streets and gained hundreds of signatures during a petition drive against the usurious interest rates charged by payday loan lenders. He became a spokesperson for the cause, after he worked long and hard to get out from under the debt he incurred. Clark inspired, assisted and recruited others who worked against the high interest rates."
Emergency Assistance and Food Pantry
Saint Therese provides emergency assistance to neighborhood residents by helping with natural gas and electric bills through a grant from the Mid America Assistance Coalition (MAAC). MAAC is the administrator for funds received as donations from Neighbors Helping Neighbors (Missouri Gas Energy) and Dollar-Aide (Kansas City Power & Light) programs.
Saint Therese maintains a food pantry that serves well over 100 families each month. Food for the pantry comes mainly from Harvesters, Kansas City's only food bank. Harvesters receives their food from several sources: government commodities, donations, and their own purchases. While Saint Therese receives food for free from Harvesters' government commodities, we must pay for additional needed food with parish funds or from received donations. We also receive donated bakery products from our friends at Cosentino's Brookside Sunfresh Market.
Christmas Basket Program
The Saint Therese Christmas Basket Program has been providing a more joyous holiday for needy neighborhood families and individuals for over 20 years.
Using cash donations and parish funds, the program provides food, paper goods, laundry, and personal hygiene items purchased at a discounted rate through the generosity of our friends at Hy-Vee, as well as gifts purchased from various other retailers or received as donations, some of which are the result of fundraisers from other churches. Parish volunteers work thoughout the year to prepare the gifts for this event.
In recent years, an average of 250 families and individuals have been served during the annual program.
If you would like to help provide for any of these very worthwhile ministries through the donation of goods, services, or financial assistance, please contact the Director of Emergency Assistance, BJ Atkinson, at the parish office.