Archive for Thursday, February 4, 2010

Charity looks for off-season volunteers

February 4, 2010

The 2009 holiday season proved prosperous for Basehor-Linwood Assistance Services, and the organization is already thinking about this year’s holidays.

After having increased donations and volunteerism last year, BLAS chairperson Pat Matthews says the organization wants to both extend its gratitude to the community and continue raising awareness of BLAS and its cause.

“We had such fabulous support this season,” Matthews said.

Last year, 25 families received holiday assistance in the way of gifts, food, clothes, books and much more, Matthews said, because of businesses like the Basehor Community Library, Basehor United Methodist Church, the Basehor Chamber of Commerce, Holy Angels Church, Kelley’s Bar and Grill, Sonic, Bonee Enterprises, Reece and Nichols, the Lions Club and Wolf Creek Marketplace, among others.

“Wolf Creek and the Lions Club deserve huge thank yous,” she said. “Wolf Creek came up with fabulous food baskets with hams. It was wonderful. And the Lions Club transported all the items from (BLAS member) Debbie (Dearinger’s) house to Basehor Elementary, where we did the distribution.”

BLAS, with its office at Basehor United Methodist Church, has been providing aid to families within the USD 458 boundaries through corporate and private donations and its Adopt a Family program since 1994. In its 20 years of operation, BLAS has jumped its share of hurdles and traveled bumpy roads.

“At one point, we only had just three members on our board,” Matthews said. “But somehow we worked it out.”

Though the height of the BLAS season is during the holidays, the organization helps Basehor-Linwood families year round, providing food, clothing and money during times of need.

Basehor United Methodist Pastor Claudia Bakely, who is also a member of BLAS, said the church had a few phone calls each week outside the holiday months from people requesting aid.

“It’s pretty consistent,” Bakely said. “We’ll help with utilities if they are unable to pay, and a lot of times families need help with back to school.”

In order to maintain its success, BLAS wants to raise awareness of its organization to receive donations and recruit more members to serve on its board throughout the year. With the community being so widespread, Matthews said it would be beneficial to have a person from each area of the school district accompanying the 12 current board members.

Bakely said she had lived in several other towns and believed BLAS had a great method of helping its community.

“The way we do it here is really good,” she said. “It’s actually the parents giving the presents to their kids and cooking the meal. It’s not the big production where the charity swoops in and saves Christmas. This way, it still comes from the parents.”

Those interested in helping BLAS through donations, volunteer hours or serving on the board can call (913) 724-2077. All those interested in assisting during the holidays are encouraged to contact BLAS in November to ensure enough time for the early December distribution.

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