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Giving to others

Tallgrass Creek charitable bakers help Good Samaritan

Created date

November 23rd, 2010

Next time you go to the kitchen to make a sandwich for yourself or your spouse, imagine making 400 hundred of those sandwiches before dawn. That is what Kansas City Good Samaritan Marcia Merrick does every single day. Many years ago, Merrick felt compelled to do something to help homeless people. So she started packing a few sack lunches in her own kitchen and passing them out in Kansas City. When she realized what a difference her simple act of kindness was making in people s lives, she started making more and more sandwiches.

Changing lives with PB&J

Today Merrick passes out 400 homemade sack lunches every day, including holidays. She also gets to know the homeless people she meets and provides them with resources like information on domestic violence shelters or substance abuse support groups. But Merrick says feeding homeless people has to be the first step. If they re hungry, they re not going to listen, Merrick says. It works, and then from there you build off of that relationship. There are people who want to get off the streets but don t know how, so I try to plug them into whatever services they need. In her now widely-publicized sack lunches, Merrick provides a balanced meal of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pretzels, a piece of fruit, and two homemade cookies. She also decorates each and every bag and includes a hand-written note of encouragement.

A little bit of homemade kindness

Until recently, Merrick purchased all of the food and did all of the labor on her own. But now that the word about her good deeds has spread, individuals and organizations are pitching in to help Merrick continue feeding the homeless. A group of charitable bakers atTallgrass Creekin Overland Park recently decided to help Merrick by baking cookies to be stuffed in her lunch sacks. Twenty-six residents committed to baking two dozen cookies a month. Merrick says homemade cookies might not mean very much to those of us blessed with abundant food and shelter. But for homeless people, the extra effort that goes into a home-baked cookie versus one purchased at the grocery store means a lot. I hear enough feedback that is positive that I know they are grateful someone took the time to bake homemade cookies, Merrick says. Tallgrass Creek resident Bunny Brown, who is helping to spearhead the community s cookie-baking efforts, says residents were very impressed when they learned about the work Merrick does and wanted to find some way to help. They decided 624 freshly baked cookies every month would be a great way for them to contribute. We re a very giving community, Brown says of her neighbors at Tallgrass Creek. We want to give back a little of what we ve got because we are very blessed people.