The boy and girl couldn’t have been more than six-years-old. Dirt caked their fingers and ragged layers of clothing covered their small, dwindling bodies. They looked cold, hungry and shy when they walked up to my food station inside the homeless shelter.
With a scared face, the little boy asked for a bite-size candy bar to share with his sis. Without hesitation, I gave them two handfuls each. The next moment changed my life forever.
There are certain experiences in life that define who we are. Seldom are they easy to spot, and it’s usually not until later in life that we realize they occurred at all. They can affect many, or sometimes just one, and their true impact can vary for everyone.
Yet, no matter the degree, these defining moments present us with an opportunity to make a change, to leave a legacy and to transform for the better. Ultimately, they are chances to make a difference in our lives and others. Unfortunately, they are ignored far too often.
The idea of The Call KC came from that exact notion. So many times in my life, I found myself personally wondering what was my purpose. After trying to fill it with education, a job, friends and family, I realized I was still missing something. They were all great, but I felt unfulfilled.
As a man of faith, religion was the closest I got towards filling that hole, and it led me to opening my mind, eyes and heart. It also led me to a homeless shelter. In January 2013, friend and Call KC co-founder Brent Lobdell joined me to volunteer at Morning Glory Ministries in downtown Kansas City. For three hours, we prepared food for the less fortunate and served them a hot meal.
While watching hungry men, women and even children receive a short respite from their crest-fallen lives, a pair of siblings came up to me. The little boy and girl could not have been more than 6-years-old and all they asked for was a piece of chocolate. When I gave them two handfuls each, their toothy smiles hit me to the core — pure joy.
Two kids who had next to nothing found happiness in a simple sweet, which I was lucky enough to give them. It felt like I was actually making a difference in someone else’s existence, helping those who truly need it find joy in misery, and it gave me a feeling of unabashed happiness. To put it plainly, I was doing something that mattered. I was improving others’ lives like never before, and I knew there was so much more I could give.
From that point on, Brent and I looked for more opportunities to volunteer and as we continued to help feed the hungry, cloth the needy and strengthen the weak, an idea came to us. What would happen if we all did this? What if — as a community — the people of Kansas City dedicated just one morning every six months to helping those in need? Think of the impact it could have on the less fortunate, the lives that it would make better or more importantly, the lives it would save. It would be life-altering for many.
So we decided to start a movement, a community service renaissance, and we are challenging everyone in Kansas City to join us. Since 2014, we’ve been a certified 501c3 nonprofit organization that is focused solely on volunteerism. Volunteer with us once every six months and we promise that not only will you enhance the life of someone who needs it, but you will also experience a growth in your own heart — and you won’t be alone.
We are actively recruiting every group in this city, from high school clubs and teams to churches and youth groups to businesses and civic clubs. Together, we are going to make Kansas City better.
There are certain experiences in life that define who we are. We here at The Call KC are offering such a moment to you. Join us.
– Brent Lager, Co-Founder of The Call KC