Even after a Christian soup kitchen told a group of atheists that it wasn’t a “good fit” to volunteer, the generous non-believers tracked down another faith organization to help out.
The Kansas City Atheist Coalition (KCAC) was eager to deliver Thanksgiving meals to the poor and the elderly with the Kansas City Rescue Mission, a holiday program it had contributed to for the past two years. But this season the door was slammed in the group’s face, The Kansas City Star reported.
“We are an unapologetically Christian organization, and we always have been,” Julie Larocco, development officer for the Kansas City Rescue Mission, told the paper. “We want to share the message with the people we serve that ‘God loves you, and you are not alone.’ It seemed to us that this (atheist) group probably would not want to deliver those meals.”
Larocco also noted that since they get hundreds of volunteers around the holidays, they wouldn’t have a problem replacing the atheist group in delivering the estimated 2,400 meals.
While the atheist group was miffed, it could not be deterred.
As the word spread of how the coalition had been banned, an “overwhelming” number of agencies reached out and asked the volunteers for their help, the organization wrote on its website.
KCAC ultimately decided to lend a helping hand to the Micah Ministry, the outreach mission of Independence Boulevard Christian Church. The group will serve Thanksgiving dinner to people in need on Nov. 25, an event that offers guests the chance to sit and be served in a dignified way without waiting on “food lines.”
“Senior Minister Lee Chiaramonte has expressed that they do not require an acceptance of faith from those who volunteer, nor do they ask one of those who need a warm meal for the night,” KCAC wrote on its website. “They accept all who enter their doors regardless of faith, sexual orientation, race, creed, or legal standing. We are quite excited to simply work together and sincerely help those who are less fortunate.”
Perhaps KCAC took a page out of a book from a group of atheists in South Carolina who also recently faced a similar disheartening situation.
When Upstate Atheists offered to volunteer with the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, the group heard a resounding “no” when the executive director said she would resign from her job before allowing such a group to support her organization, the Christian Post reported.
Rather than give up, the group decided to form its own program. Last month, the volunteers got together and doled out 300 care packages to the homless, right across the street from the nonprofit that rejected them. Through an online fundraiser, Upstate Atheists was able to collect $2,000 to buy socks, gloves, deodorant, toothpaste and antiseptic wipes and other items.
"I was upset with the hateful remarks. It certainly wasn't necessary," Eve Brannon, president of Upstate Atheists, told the Christian Post. "However, it turned out well. Because we were turned away, we ended up being able to give the homeless care packages that they needed. The people in need are the ones who truly matter."