Local ministry extends 'helping hand' to needy families

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - A local ministry is on a mission to combat hunger in the Missouri Bootheel.

Helping Hand in Kennett serves food to about 600 families every month.

Co-Director Sue McFarlin said many more could benefit from the organization, but they do not know it's available to them.

"They can come once a month to receive food if they meet the 125 percent poverty level or 150 percent disability," McFarlin said. "Very few people don't qualify."

McFarlin said they easily spend about five thousand dollars every month on food. But this still does not even begin to satisfy the hunger in Dunklin County.

"It's hard for a lot of people to get here and make it. It really is. They're just so dependent on other people for help. We've just gotta help where we can," McFarlin said.

Helping Hand volunteers feed clients ranging in age from 18 to 92 years old.

McFarlin said the organization helps about 600 families every month, but just several years ago, it was half of that. She said they used to supply families three good meals for three days, but now that has changed, too. 

"If you work at it, you can get maybe a good day or two out of it," McFarlin said.

This is where the community can help. 

"Monetarily, food wise, whatever's in people's hearts that they want to share. Time wise, we can always use people," McFarlin said.

Helping Hand's mission also extends beyond fighting hunger.

"Anybody who comes for food gets five pieces of clothes for each family member every time they come," McFarlin said.

They also always need clothing donations, particularly men's and children's clothing, and household items, like furniture and dishware.

Helping Hand also sells home decor donations to the public.

"In our world, knickknacks equate to money and food," McFarlin said.

The organization functions solely on volunteer work so every penny goes to food. 

"Look around in your community. See where the need is. If you have five minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. If you have a dollar to share, if you have an extra can to share of food, move it forward. It can touch a life you may not realize how much. It may just be their only meal that day," McFarlin said.

If you would like to give to Helping Hand, you can drop off donations Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Helping Hand is located at 511 Frisco St. in Kennett. 
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