As some of the more than 800,000 federal workers going unpaid reside in the cities of Lee’s Summit, Lone Jack, Lake Lotawana and Greenwood, local assistance agency Lee’s Summit Social Services is bracing for the likely uptick in requests for food and financial assistance.
In fact, in just the last week, LSSS Executive Director Matt Sanning said his organization has received 15 requests for assistance from furloughed government workers.
“Our agency understands this is a concern in our community,” Sanning said. “We are preparing ourselves to bring awareness to the community in order for us to be of assistance. We want the communities we serve to know that we extend our resources as available to out-of-work government employees.”
Sanning said that while federal employees may not consider themselves “low income,” in the case of missed paychecks and growing financial needs, “we don’t want to exclude them.
“What we’ve been hearing lately is ‘who is helping’ and we want people know we are doing something about this. It may not be entirely ideal, but help is out there,” he said. “We want to keep them in their home, keep their lights on. And help them explore other ways to pay for things.”
Lee’s Summit Social Services-Frequently Asked Questions
Will LSSS be available to eligible clients during the government shutdown?
Yes. Our agency is not federally funded and we operate solely on donations, donors and through the proceeds of our thrift store.
What areas do you cover and who is eligible?
Individuals and families in Lee’s Summit, Lake Lotawana, Lone Jack and Greenwood are eligible to seek assistance of our food pantry or apply for financial assistance. Our case workers will diligently work with anyone who has found themselves recently without a paycheck.
What other assistance can you provide?
Our caseworkers are skilled in budget counseling and cost-saving ideas. We are willing to work with all individuals and families that find themselves without a paycheck over a short or extended period of time.
How can others help Lee’s Summit Social Services during this time of additional need?
Because we do not purchase food from a food bank, we rely solely on the generosity of the community to ensure our pantry has the necessary provisions. November and December are great months for Lee’s Summit Social Services regarding food donations and it helps us carry on through the first quarter of the following year, which is normally when we receive very few food donations. With the fact that we could potentially maintain the same levels (or greater) as the holiday season, our food supplies will be depleted before the end of February. Even after the federal employees return to work, our food supplies will have been greatly depleted, which will affect the regular client needs after that period.
Are you accepting monetary support and where does this money go?
Financial support will be needed as more and more employees go without paychecks. We will be asked to assist with utility and rental assistance at a much greater level than projected. We have multiple funding streams that allow us to meet the current needs of our community, but the influx in needs and the inability to apply for any additional assistance during this time frame is unlikely to reach us in time for this event. We will use these donations for direct assistance to clients, including food, utilities and other items as needed.
Lee’s Summit Social Services will meet the needs of existing client families (nearly 2,000), as well as the additional families affected by this shutdown. We will do our best to meet the priority needs of these families in the timeliest manner possible and will add volunteers as necessary/available. If you would like to volunteer, please email Ted@LSSOCIALSERVICES.COM.
If you have someone seeking assistance, please call 816-525-4357 x101 to reach our front desk. They will make an appointment for services.
If you would like to make a donation, or have any other inquiries, please contact Megan Salerno at MEGAN@LSSOCIALSERVICES.COM or 816-525-4357 x105.
We will remain steadfast in our commitment to addressing the needs of these furloughed federal employees,” Sanning said. “We will work to assist where necessary and to be the best stewards of the community resources as possible. We appreciate your support and are grateful for your assistance during this tumultuous time.”