By Erin Dougherty for the City of Overland Park
As families and individuals face financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the community is coming together to provide options for those who need food assistance.
Before the pandemic began, food insecurity in the U.S. was at its lowest level in more than 20 years. Unfortunately, the pandemic contributed to millions of new people experiencing food insecurity.
Johnson County’s need
Feeding America’s COVID-19 Impact Map projects that 12 percent of Johnson County residents (70,170 people) may not know where their next meal is coming from due to COVID-19. People experiencing food insecurity are often forced to make difficult choices between feeding their families and paying their rent, and children experience food insecurity at higher rates than adults.
Where to get and give help
Community organizations, school districts, and churches throughout the city are hosting food drives and distributing food with necessary precautions and protective measures in place. The City of Overland Park has an interactive meal sites locator map to locate free food resources in and around Overland Park. Click on the marker for details and directions.
Harvesters Community Food Network supports many of our local food pantries with food and resource distribution. You can help make a difference by donating food, time, money, or your voice. Harvesters has a comprehensive list of food distribution locations on its website.
Various local food pantries distribute food on a weekly basis. Below is a list of food pantries and information on how to collect, donate, or volunteer.
Santa Fe Waystation Food Pantry Drive-Through
The drive-through is open every Monday from 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. at 6431 Riley Street, Mission. The pick-up area is located on 65th Street. Families will receive fresh produce when available, shelf stable foods, frozen meat, and paper products. You can support Santa Fe Waystation by hosting a food drive, making a monetary donation, or volunteering your time. There are numerous volunteer opportunities available for adults and teens throughout the year. Get involved, on the Santa Fe Waystation website.
Catholic Charities Northeast Kansas Overland Park
The food pantry drive-through is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3:30 p.m. at 9750 W. 87th Street in Overland Park. Please follow the drive-through directions posted at each location. You can contribute to Catholic Charities by organizing a food drive, making gifts-in-kind, making financial contributions, and volunteering your time. Get involved, on the Catholic Charities website.
ReNewed Hope Food Pantry
The food pantry drive-through is open Sunday from 3-5 p.m. and Tuesday from 10-11:30 a.m. at 8714 Antioch Road in Overland Park. Current donation needs include salad dressing and pasta sauce. To volunteer, email ReNewedHopeFoodPantry@gmail.com.
Church of the Resurrection Overland Park
The food pantry drive-through is open Monday from 9 a.m.-noon and Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. Drop off donations between 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Volunteer shifts are available every day of the week. Sign up in advance on the Church of the Resurrection website. In addition to food donations, the church is hosting a winter warmth item donation drive.
Yachad Kosher Food Pantry To make a personal appointment to visit the food pantry at 6201 Indian Creek Drive, call Sherrill at 913-649-4852. Yachad is accepting Kosher food donations and monetary donations, on its website.
Overland Park Church of Christ
Anyone in need can access the pantry at 13400 W. 119th Street in Overland Park by appointment. Call 913-634-4607 to reserve an appointment. Volunteers are welcome to help pack and deliver food to assisted living homes and low-income housing facilities on Thursday mornings. Contact Carl at (913) 634-4607 to get involved.
The food pantry at 5210 Antioch Road is open 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
United Way of Greater Kansas City
The United Way includes a list of programs and services available in the metropolitan Kansas City area based on the type of need, including food distribution. In addition to nutrition resources, the United Way provides help for other basic needs such as housing, transportation, utility assistance, and more. Learn about volunteering on their website as well.
Shawnee Mission School District
The Shawnee Mission School District is providing free meals to all district students regardless if they are learning remote, hybrid, or in-person. Families can pick meals up at all 47 schools on Friday between 6:30 and 7:45 a.m. with a student’s ID number. No advance ordering is necessary. Find more information and a Spanish translation, on the district’s website.
Blue Valley School District
The Blue Valley School District is providing free drive-thru pickup meals to all district students regardless of learning status. Meals are available at Blue Valley High School, 6001 W 159th St., Blue Valley North High School, 12200 Lamar Ave., Blue Valley Northwest High School, 13260 Switzer, and Blue Valley West High School, 16200 Antioch from 11 a.m. – noon on Monday and Wednesday. Learn more on the district’s website.
Johnson County Community College Students
Cav Cupboard is an on-campus resource for supplemental food, school supplies, and hygiene products for currently enrolled JCCC students and their families. Bring your JCCC ID or an alternate form of photo identification and receive up to 15 items (maximum of 5 protein sources and 8 personal care items) twice a week and fill your backpack with school supplies. Find more information and learn about additional services, on the JCCC website.