Helping Hands of Concordia has long been known for reaching out and giving a hand to those most in need in the community as well as to simple victims of unfortunate events in the area.
Now, Helping Hands could use your help.
What is Helping Hands? It’s a nonprofit ministry located in Manna House of Prayer at 323 East 5th Street in Concordia, Kansas. Ever since 1978, Manna House has offered an outreach to help those in need. Partnering with area agencies, among the services offered is assistance for utilities, medical help (pharmacy bills), travel (bus passes for the local in-town bus, OCCK bus transportation and 81 Connection bus transport), food (from our food closet), baby formula, diapers and gasoline vouchers for stranded out-of town transients. It is a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia.
And Helping Hands isn’t just for Concordia. In the past year it also has assisted residents in Miltonvale, Clyde, Belleville and Glasco.
Susan LeDuc, CSJ Associate and manager of Helping Hands, talked Wednesday, April 20, about the current needs of the nonprofit.
Like many businesses and nonprofits, Helping Hands has been reeling under the impact of recent current events.
During the winter, area electric and gas companies were under a moratorium on the collection of past due bills. Now that the weather has warmed up, and the moratorium has lifted, all those bills are coming due. And many residents are in desperate straits trying to keep on basic utilities.
“We are seeing twice as many people seeking utility help,” LeDuc said.
“Some didn’t take advantage of LEAP (Low Energy Advantage Program) and some didn’t qualify,” she said.
Also, a recall earlier this winter on baby formula caused an alarming shortage. Helping Hands, WIC, and other area agencies have been scrambling to provide formula for mothers and children.
In addition, food chain interruptions, shortages and inflation have made keeping the food pantry stocked a problem. Basic needs, like simple canned proteins — canned chicken and tuna — hard to keep on the shelves.
Fresh meat is another difficult product to keep in stock. Manna House has a limited deep freezer storage area and is always happy to welcome the donation of meat.
How can you help?
Helping Hands welcomes donations of non-expired food, diapers, baby formula, as well as monetary donations. Helping Hands does not accept clothing donations, however it does offer vouchers to the Catholic Thrift Store for people in need of garments.
“Every dime that is donated goes to the people,” LeDuc said. “There are no administrative costs. It all goes to bills, diapers, groceries or vouchers. The Sisters cover all the administrative expenses.”
To donate, contact Manna House of Prayer, Susan LeDuc or Cecilia Thrash, 323 East 5th Street, Concordia, Kansas 66901; call 785-243-4428; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Monetary donations also may be sent to the Development Office at Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, P.O. Box 279, Concordia, Kansas, with a note for it to be designated to the Helping Hands ministry.
If you are in need of assistance, Manna House is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If possible, call ahead and let the staff find out in advance how to best help you, or come and ring the front bell during those hours.
“Call in advance, so we can see if we can help you,” LeDuc said. “If we can’t, we have other partners we work with like the Resource Center, DVACK, area dentists, doctors and the Lions Club.”