Celebrating Thanksgiving By Serving Those In Need

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Men enrolled in the Opportunity Farm program, in West Benton County, put together 92 Thanksgiving dinner boxes for local area needy families on Friday, November 22. City Union Mission, headquartered in Kansas City has sponsored this service for the last several years.
“Seven of the people packing the Thanksgiving boxes are currently part of the Opportunity Farm program that helps men improve their lives by learning job skills and how to resolve conflict,” said Rev. Lee Berns, who has been director of the program for the past 22 years. “We help them with a stable home, a job and church. These men also look forward to participating in an Opportunity Farm Thanksgiving dinner.”
Rev. Berns said that Opportunity Farm was working together with Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Warsaw Bible Church, Lakeside Baptist Chapel, and the Benton County Human resource Council.
“We received names of people who will benefit from the Thanksgiving dinners from Cedar Grove Baptist Church,” said Rev. Berns. “Some of the churches and the Council picked up boxes to distribute on November 22, and I delivered some to Warsaw Bible Church on November 24. We also gave some boxes to the Sheriff’s Office as a blessing for all that they do. The dinners include green beans, potatoes, yams, gravy, dinner rolls, pie, cool whip, butter, pudding, cranberries, turkey and a turkey pan.”
Rev. Berns said that he turned the Opportunity Farm and Camp Cumcito operation over to new director Rev. Cord Cochran on October 1, and is staying on to assist until the new year when he retires. Rev. Berns started with City Union Mission in February 1998 and transferred to Warsaw in 2007 to direct the local operation.
“City Union Mission began operating in 1924,” said Rev. Berns. “It began sending men to the Opportunity Farm in 1933, and sent kids to Camp Cumcito, on the same grounds, in 1935.”
City Union Mission has provided warm beds, nutritious food and a place of safety for thousands of poverty-stricken and homeless men, women, and children. It offers separate emergency shelters for men, for women, and for families; long-term recovery programs for men, women, and families; after-school and summer programs for youth; summer camp for kids ages 4-16; and three thrift stores. City Union Mission receives no government support and is not a United Way agency. The Mission depends completely on the gifts of God’s people – individuals, churches, groups, foundations, and businesses who have a heart for the poor and homeless in Kansas City.