Sept. 28, 2019

Courtesy photo Fire fighters at Station 1 in Downtown Lee’s Summit

By Layne Stracener of the Tribune

Through unity and kindness, the Lee’s Summit community collected more than 2,000 pounds of food and supplies for families in need.

This will feed about 68 families of 3-4 people for about five days.

The Lee’s Summit Fire Fighters Auxiliary, in connection with Lee’s Summit Fire Fighter Charities, made this possible by hosting a food drive to benefit Lee’s Summit Social Services (LSSS) for the first time.

LSSS is a nonprofit agency that helps low-income families and individuals with basic needs such as food, utility and rent assistance, clothing, medical items, school supplies and holiday needs.

Bryce Buchanan, the Lee’s Summit Fire Fighters Association president, said he plans for this donation drive to take place every year at about the same time.

“I think it will be a wonderful thing to keep going,” Buchanan said. “I think it’s a testament to the community that we do live in that when we ask and when we partner with different groups within the city, people come through and people are very generous and show their support.”

Donation barrels were located in the lobby of each Lee’s Summit fire station. LSSS Executive Director Matt Sanning will prepare a barbeque meal for Station One at 207 S.E. Douglas St. in downtown Lee’s Summit. This station collected the most donations – more than 575 pounds of food and supplies.

Station Six at 101 Blackwell Road came in second place with more than 538 pounds of donations, and Station Four at 404 N.E. Woods Chapel Road came in third, collecting more than 450 pounds.

Sanning said his goal for this food drive was to bring awareness to the community about people who are in need and to show individuals that they can make a difference.

“I think my goal was certainly accomplished, and my hope is that we just build on that community feeling of love and appreciation for each other,” Sanning said. “It wasn’t just a food drive. It’s about more than that. It’s about keeping Lee’s Summit unified and appreciative of one another.”

Lee’s Summit Firefighters Auxiliary member Mia Prier said it brings her joy to see the community come together to help people in need.

“Lee’s Summit is such a big city, but when it comes to coming together and donating, we kind of act like a small community,” Prier said.

Sanning said he loves how the Lee’s Summit community often finds ways to show that they care and that even when society seems like it’s divided and falling apart, events like this donation drive show him there is still good in the world.

“With all the ugliness that we see on the news, this kind of stuff happens and just totally renews our sense of humanity and love for one another,” Sanning said. “For me, in this industry, where there’s a lot of hardships and rough things happening in this world, watching the community do this is, by far, the most special thing and why I’m still there. It really is the best feeling ever.”

Sanning said he wants to thank the Lee’s Summit community, the Lee’s Summit Fire Fighters Auxiliary and Lee’s Summit Fire Fighter Charities.

“We’re absolutely blessed, as an agency, to have the support of those fine folks and of the community and we just cannot do what we do without that kind of support,” Sanning said. “This was, by far, one of the strongest examples of this community’s care for each other. It warms the heart on many different levels.”