WHO IS N2N
N2N (Neighbor2Neighbor) offers a spirit of radical hospitality; generously welcoming all persons with compassionate service and accountability. Neighbor2Neighbor is about relationships. When many helping agencies say “client,” we say “neighbor.” Hungry neighbors come each day to Neighbor2Neighbor looking for nutritious meals and a place where they feel safe, welcome, and respected.
OUR MISSION: To provide an oasis of support and encouragement to the homeless and near-homeless to help them achieve return to independence, confidence and a healthy sense of self-worth and a better future.
WHO IS N2N
In the early 1990's, persons in need came to the Westport United Methodist Church asking for money for food. Rather than giving them money, two of the women from the church made peanut butter sandwiches and put them in a sack along with snack food for persons who were hungry. Later, other services were added. A member of the church advisory board at the time observed that "we are offering help, neighbor to neighbor". Hence, the name Neighbor2Neighbor (N2N 501c3 legal name) was given to the program.
In 2004, the focus on providing "radical hospitality" became instilled in every activity and program. It continues to serve as our foundation today.
In May of 2007, Neighbor2Neighbor was incorporated as N2N, a 501(c)(3) corporation with contributions to be tax-deductible. A formal board of directors was established.
PROSPERITY and GROWTH
Over the next 7 years, N2N grew and expanded services to include a very active and vibrant thrift store, food pantry and a part time social worker on staff. She provided referrals and guidance to neighbors who were not aware or understanding of how to get help with the many medical and mental health services opportunities for the under-privileged. The social worker service continues at N2N today. During that time period, N2N was serving over 100 individuals for each meal service of breakfast and lunch as well as a similar number accessing our thrift store.
By 2014, N2N had outgrown the modest kitchen service space provided at the Westport United Methodist Church (now known as Revolution church). Additional services, such as job training and mentorship programs were being contemplated. Westport United Methodist Church (now Revolution) had asked us to move from their building.
In January 2016, N2N made arrangements with the Mary Kelly Center, at 51st and Garfield, KCMO, to establish operations in its cafe.
SLOW RECOVERY to a NEW DIRECTION
At Mary Kelly Center, Neighbor2Neighbor had seen the slow but steady return of many of its Westport neighbors as well as the discovery of many new families and individuals in the nearby area.
While at Mary Kelly Center, we continued to provide meals services (breakfast and lunch, limited social work and limited clothing access. As we did not have a permanent space, the task of setting up and taking down our equipment each day proved cumbersome.
As Mary Kelly Center was heading in a new direction, we again found ourselves looking for a new home.
It is our hope N2N will continue to be known for our radical hospitality. We will continue to treat all who come through our doors as neighbors. We will continue to provide meals to them. However, once we are past Covid, we will be more ambitious in setting up new programs designed to get our neighbors on the path to self-sufficiency.
While providing daily needs is critical for survival, true hope lies in the ability of those we serve to return to independence, confidence and a healthy sense of self-worth and value.
That, then, has become our mission.
ESTABLISHING A NEIGHBORHOOD PRESENCE
That home was found at Mount Washington Missionary Baptist Church and 3551 Wabash, KCMO. We began operations on March 1, 2018.
Initial services were a continental breakfast, a hot lunch, clothes closet and hygiene supplies and our social worker. We soon were up to our service of 100 + guests per day.
During the Pandemic in 2020 - 2021, we have restricted our meal service to a sack lunch and coffee during our operating hours of 9-12, M-F. We are maintaining the 100+ guest level despite our operating restrictions.
We have a dedicated Executive Director and lead volunteer who serve as the cornerstones of our service team. They are support by a group of volunteers from various Churches who volunteer on specific days.
My God-given PASSION is serving people with substance abuse problems, and helping prevent youth from getting hooked on alcohol and drugs.
Since leaving the life of substance abuse myself 26 years ago (Oct 1994), I have spent my life serving those with similar problems in Kansas City, MO, first in the Westport area of central Kansas City, MO, where I had once panhandled for many years to feed my own addictions. (I was arrested 97 times for various charges.)
I served 12 years as Director of Substance Abuse Recovery (“Heart to Heart”) at Grace United Community Ministries (GUCM) and am now Executive Director of the Neighbor2Neighbor Program. I continue to serve the homeless and families living with substance abuse in the underserved area of Kansas City, MO.
In 26 years, I have personally assisted over 2,700 users into detox and treatment, finding beds for them -- no easy task these days, given the closings in KCMO!! -- sometimes driving them to treatment centers 50 miles away. Afterwards, I help them stay in recovery!
Former Board Chairperson-now volunteer
I worked for Lockton Companies for 30 years and am now retired. But now I am able to focus on things I feel are more important: being the hands of Jesus for those who are struggling in life. It is the most rewarding thing I have done.
Too many agencies dealing with the clients we deal with are transactional in nature. Our preference is to be interactive, to know the people we serve and to provide an environment of welcome, caring, understanding and love. It may be radical, but that is what we do.
We don’t enable negative behavior – we don’t allow it on our premises. Touching lives and helping effect changes where we can is a fulfilling experience. It is and always has been our mission.
Rosie began working with N2N in the 1990s, leading a weekly worship service. She was in a small group which served dinner once a month. Later, she was asked to lead the Thrift Store, until it was closed in 2016. She retired from her job in 2015, and was thus able to dedicate more time to N2N. Since then, she has worked as needed, and currently serves as the Operations Manager. As a member of the board, she is the Treasurer.
Rosie is a native gardener, amateur pianist, and a Royals fan. She has a degree from Saint Paul's School of Theology, and still likes to read theology, as well as Charles Dickens.
Ruth Gerald spent her career in merchandising for Halls and House of Lloyd/Christmas Around the World. In 2000 she became Director of Product, Product Development, Quality Control, and Int'l Sourcing for Winston Marketing. Ruth spent the final years of her career living half of the year in Asia.
Upon retirement Ruth moved back to Kansas City and decided to become a full time volunteer with non-profits that dealt with children. In 2011 she and her daughter founded the Baby Grace of Kansas City Diaper Pantry and Clothes Closet for families in poverty to help them provide for their infants and toddlers. In their first few years Baby Grace shared space with N2N and she became dedicated to N2N and the work which they were doing to help the homeless, near homeless, and addicted, becoming a member of the Board in 2016.
Most of my adult life I lived in Sequim, WA, where I built houses and installed 4 Seasons Sunrooms. After retiring, I returned to KCMO to attend L'Ecole Culinaire.
I attend Keystone UMC, where a group of Chefs and volunteers created "Sooner than Later" for "at risk teenagers." The young adults were from Gillis Center and Pathways, which are both in the Cornerstones of Care Program.
We taught them the fundamentals of cooking, proper handling of food, and how to get a job in the restaurant trade.
I help prepare Thanksgiving Dinners at our Church and also for the Disabled American Veterans.
I volunteer cook at the DAV, VFW, and The American Legion for special events.
I cooked at Gillis Home 18 months until they closed the dorms and moved the children.
I work a 12 Step Program and enjoy fishing and building things as well as cooking for people.