By Susan Sexton
The founder and visionary of Taking It To The Streets, Scott Lamaster, received a great honor from the Kansas City Police Department earlier this month. On May 10, Scott was awarded the Meritorious Service Award for providing aid to the men and women of the KCPD.
Scott was greatly honored to receive this award, but he says that it really goes to all of the men and women who support and volunteer with his nonprofit organization.
Taking It To The Streets has existed for over 15 years, but incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit in 2012. Scott’s organization continues to gain visibility as they make a huge impact on those that they serve through emergency response, disaster relief, and homeless outreach.
Scott is a huge cheerleader for the first responders in the community! His motto is “Honor those to whom honor is due.” When the police, fire, and sheriff’s departments, as well as other law enforcement agencies, are at the scene of the crime – such as the shooting death of Detective Lancaster last month – Scott and other volunteers with Taking It To The Streets will show up with their Emergency Response Trailer. Knowing that law enforcement and first responders may be at a scene for several hours, Scott and his team provide food and drink, clean restrooms, and other necessary supplies for them.
In October 2015, two firefighters were killed while rescuing others from a burning building. Taking It To The Streets set up their Emergency Response Trailer near the scene and remained for 13 days to feed and support those investigating the terrible tragedy.
Scott’s goal is to always have tasty food available for those whom they serve.
“Our food is a tool,” Scott says. “We’re known for serving the best food on the streets. It doesn’t matter whether we serve first responders, a homeless person, or those who have survived disasters – our goal is to have the best food. We serve apple pie with Sheridan’s frozen custard!”
Taking It To The Streets volunteers go out into Kansas City and feed the homeless three days during the week. Through serving between 100-125 (double that in the summer) people on the streets, Scott hopes to “bring hope and encouragement to hurting people.”
Scott says that it generally takes around 125 personal touches to impact a homeless person’s life, but he also believes that Taking It To The Streets shortens that to about five touches because of the delicious food that they serve.
Along with feeding law enforcement/first responders and the homeless around Kansas City, Scott and his volunteers (who reside all around the KC metro area) also take their Emergency Response Unit on the road to assist people struck by natural disasters such as tornadoes.
Just a week or two ago, when 11 tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma and Kansas near Dodge City, Scott and his crew were up all night waiting to see if his services would be needed. Luckily, the tornadoes missed the town of Dodge City – but Taking It To The Streets was ready to roll.
Scott has many stories about the folks he’s assisted, such as the lady in Moore, Oklahoma who, in 2013, lost everything in the devastation caused by tornadoes. When Scott told her she was getting a double dip of Sheridan’s frozen custard, she began to cry. The news crew and everyone else around at the time began to cry too. The woman was grateful for Scott’s kindness and couldn’t believe he had traveled over 300 miles to come and help.
“The ice cream became the tool that helped start the healing process for her,” says Scott.
An Orrick, Missouri woman in hear late 70s had extensive roof damage during a tornado, but was still able to live in her home. However, the shock and despair of what had happened affected her greatly and she wouldn’t eat. Scott began taking two meals a day to her home, and that was the only thing she’d eat according to her daughter. One time, when Scott delivered the food, he had with him a local news anchor. Scott took the man in and introduced him to the woman and her family. They were thrilled to meet the man in person – the man they watched daily delivering the news and weather. After that, the woman began eating better, her hope having been restored!
Taking It To The Streets is operating out of Scott’s and other volunteers’ garages. His wish is to have a building in which to store all of their supplies that also has commercial cooking equipment as well as commercial refrigerators and freezers. His vision is that this building will also have a Command Center with TVs, computers, and scanners so that volunteers can gather and keep up with events in the city and surrounding areas. Having everything in one place will make it easier to quickly get help to people in need.
Scott also envisions having semi trailers that can be configured into a self-contained shower trailer, a self-contained laundry trailer, and a full commercial kitchen trailer.
Taking It To The Streets is working to consolidate the efforts and generosity of other local nonprofits to continue helping meet the needs of Lee’s Summit residents as well as those needs of the surrounding communities.
It’s easy to understand why Scott Lamaster received the Meritorious Service Award from the KCPD! He is a man with a kind and loving heart who honors and respects the men and women who put their lives on the line, daily, to protect us – as well as those people in need of support and food during hard times in their lives.
For more information, to donate, or to find out how you can volunteer, go to www.2thestreets.org or check out the Facebook page – “Taking It To The Streets.”