I-Care Inc. provides emergency food and support to people living in southeast parts of Topeka and Shawnee County. Five churches support I-Care: Berryton United Methodist, Highland Park United Methodist, Shawnee Heights United Methodist, Hope Lutheran and Southern Hills Mennonite Church. I-Care works out of the Highland Park United Methodist Church and is open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday to supply people with food items.
Three Southern Hills members serve on the board. A Southern Hills couple serves as the Food Service directors. Keeping the pantry stocked and the volunteers scheduled is no easy task. Another church member provides storage space and also serves as secretary for the I-Care board. At least eight other Southern Hills members regularly volunteer their time and energies with I-Care. More volunteers are always welcome.
I-Care functions entirely with voluntary help and donations. Southern Hills people have been very generous with their donations through the budget, CROP Walk, Friendship Circle, Souper Bowl collections, Sunday School offerings, school supplies, food drives and private donations. The organization also receive produce from the Unity Garden and other private individuals during the summer. Some other major donations for I-Care come from Project Topeka, United Methodist Bishops Round-Up, Letter Carriers, high school service clubs, grants and other churches.
After one Southern Hills volunteer spent time with Feed the Children, interviewing families that had received food from I-Care, Feed The Children donated two semi-trailer loads of groceries. These two loads amounted to 37,540 pounds valued at $78,687. At two different times, I-Care had a mass distribution to families in need.
During 2004, I-Care made 2,498 transactions, serving 8,701 individuals; this was up by 5 percent from 2003. This does not include the mass distributions of Feed the Children boxes.
Consider the following facts to get an idea of the many ways I-Care serves people in our community:
- Twice a year, potatoes that are supplied by St. Andrew Society are given away to anyone who has a need for some.
- At the beginning of the school year, around $2,000 worth of school supplies were distributed to schools in our area for the indigent students.
- I-Care Board voted in November to donate $3,000 to the Empty Stocking Fund to assist families with utilities.
- I-Care now has vouchers that our pastors use if someone is in need and requests food.
I-Care appreciates the many ways that organizations, individuals and Southern Hills have come together to help provide emergency supplies to so many people. We continue to ask for prayers for the many people who need help and for the volunteers who help them. Thank You, Southern Hills!