Deb and her kids, Jack, Chloe, Karbe, and Tyler
“Work to live and live to serve for the Greater Good”
– SoftVu’s President & CEO, Tim Donnelly
SoftVu aspires to exemplify our core values in our day-to-day activities and within service acts that provide value to our local communities and our extended global community. SoftVu’s VuGooders believe in broadening their communal awareness, opening their hearts and minds, and providing body and brain muscle to benefit those in need.
What organizations are you involved in?
Kansas City Rescue Mission and City Union Mission
How did you get involved?
Living downtown the kids and I began to befriend homeless people on our evening walks with our dog. By taking our time and greeting them and talking to them over months we were able to earn their trust and get them to open up to us with their stories. One of the biggest notices that we saw are that most of the homeless on the streets in Kansas City are there by circumstance. Vietnam Vets, displaced families, women seeking refugee from abusive relationships. Most all of them are connected with a mission in downtown. So, the kids and I called the missions to see what their biggest need was/is.
What do you do there?
At Kansas City Rescue Mission; the kids and I do a yearly drive for long johns for the homeless as the mission has let us know that during the cold months, it’s one of their biggest needs since they are a more expensive item and they do not get nearly enough pairs for their homeless people. Last year, the kids and I launched our Keep Kansas City Warm drive and were able to raise 87 pairs of long johns in various sizes for the mission. We also have given up our holidays to prepare and take warm food to the homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas. At City Union Mission; a friend of mine started an event Haircuts for the Homeless and gets licensed stylists and massage therapists to volunteer at the mission every two months. I help to recruit stylist and massage therapist for the event as well as bring treats. My hours spent at the event are delivering treats to the men waiting to get their haircut and/or a massage and registering the men, keeping the crowd calm and communicating/listening to them in a humanized manner. The event that is put on allows the men to get professional haircuts for job interviews and the massages provide a human need of ‘touch’ to these men who are not touched enough. The Haircuts for the Homeless event was recently highlighted on Fox 4 and Channel 9 to increase exposure. My children and I are also frequent monetary donors to these two missions.
How do the kids play a part?
Jack has donated his birthday money this year to the family services center of City Union Mission for the homeless women, children and families. His response in giving up his birthday money was, “If you bought me a toy mom, I would remember it for awhile, but putting a smile on someone else’s face who is in a worse position than myself is something I will never forget.” Age 13
Chloe – “Homeless people deserve to have holidays too! And people who care about them.” Age 9
Karbe – “They need water and food and to be treated like people. It’s kind of our responsibility, mom, since we can give that to them” Age 9
Tyler – “It makes me feel good knowing that I can give back to someone else in their time of need. It’s about karma and our connection to others. Treat those as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.” Age 14
What is the most rewarding thing about this?
To be able to connect with a population that feel unwanted, unheard, worthless, and to give them a friend who sees their value, deservedness, worth and to see that recognition in their eyes. They are humans too, and have the same basic needs as the rest of us and to be able to recognize that and give that to them.
How can others get involved in these organizations?
Both missions are always looking for volunteers. They need help in various areas of the mission. By contacting them and connecting with their volunteer coordinators, others can select volunteer opportunities that fit their talent and time schedule. Also, becoming more educated of the homeless and how homeless occurs, their needs, treating them as humans when they see them on the street. Making a conscious effort to take them cold drinks in the summer and hot food in the winter. Giving a pair of socks, underwear, toiletries, long johns, making a $10 donation a month to shelter are a few ways to get involved. We would also love the VuGooder group to get involved in our Second Keep Kansas City Warm Campaign starting November 2017.