What’s Up For the 2013 Holidays?

For the past two years, the Kansas City Atheist Coalition has volunteered with the Kansas City Rescue Mission to deliver meals to those in need on Thanksgiving, and then later collected gift donations for an adopted family at a December holiday party.

Things this year, however, aren’t going to be quite the same – we’ve got some good news, and we’ve got some bad news.

The good news is that we are definitely still adopting a family for the holidays. Due to the closeness of Thanksgiving to December, though, we’re opting to use our Thanksgiving dinner event to collect donations. If you can’t make the dinner, don’t worry – we’ll work out a way for you to make your donations! To make up for the lack of a holiday party at which to collect donations, we’re going to also put together a white elephant gift party.

The bad news is that we aren’t likely to have a volunteer event. The reason is unfortunate: Kansas City Rescue Mission has decided to use the meals they deliver as a chance to proselytize to its recipients by inserting religious literature into the meals. They informed us that we “would not be a good fit” (emphasis theirs) for volunteering with them, and declined to respond to any further inquiries. We can only speculate at their motivation behind this; we’ve made it a pretty good show before:


The further unfortunate truth of this is that they waited until after we had spent roughly a month trying to get a hold of them to tell us they would not be accepting our offer to help volunteer. That’s put us on such short notice that we’re having trouble organizing a Thanksgiving Day volunteer event – we’re trying, but the other organizations we’ve been looking at are full up. We wouldn’t ask anyone to hold their breaths.

In the meantime, let’s focus on the upcoming fun of the holidays – a great turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and a fun white elephant party! You can find more details about the Thanksgiving dinner on our site here. Hope to see you there!


28 Replies to “What’s Up For the 2013 Holidays?”

  1. How sad that the Kansas City Rescue Mission feels their religious proselytizing is more important than welcoming volunteers to its ranks. The people who suffer the most, of course, are the hungry and homeless folks who frankly don’t care about the religious background (or lack thereof) of the people willing to help them.

    1. We appreciate your support – we’re just asking everyone to, if you wish to let KCRM know you disagree with their decision, to do so in a calm and respectful manner. 🙂

  2. I was sorry to hear anyone’s group would be excluded from a Christian organization’s good works. That’s not how we roll. Good works are good works.
    However; your article is clear that proselytizing is on your agenda while operating under the sponsor’s program; and further, even more to show your disassociation with being fair and reasonable, the fact is the atheist association only pushes this agenda in the press with such ‘worthy efforts’ is during the traditional Christian season. Therefore, the KC Rescue Mission’s exclusion this year is not political on their part but just being consistent. Would but you had the sake standards.
    Christians and real humanists find reasons to help our kind and each other year round, not compete just for press and to help some reporter with a sharp edged report that doesn’t touch the basics.
    Why doesn’t the atheist coalition try to help everyone by filling a time that traditional charities don’t fill rather than try to bully the ones already there? Seriously, if you are interested in helping the needy, don’t attack, just help. BTW: no political affiliation here…

    1. I’m sorry to hear you think that, Rsand. Can you tell me what leads you to believe we were attempting to proselytize to people through this event?

      We don’t limit ourselves to giving back to our community simply because of the holiday season – we work with other organizations in the city such as Harvesters, Heart to Heart International, and the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City throughout the year. Our volunteering with KCRM certainly focused on Thanksgiving, but that’s certainly not the limit of our attempts to contribute to the greater Kansas City community.

    2. You have it wrong. The rescue mission (Christians) were going to use delivering the meals as a way to ” proselytize to its recipients by inserting religious literature into the meals.” You need to re-read the article.

    3. Rsand~ Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday? I could argue Pagan roots of actual ‘Christian’ holidays, but labeling Thanksgiving that way is ignorant. Also, reading comprehension would be a handy thing – proselytizing by the atheists was NOT ‘clearly on the agenda’, that is the Christian rescue mission’s plan and excuse for barring the atheist group . Lastly, “that’s not how we roll” is wrong. The whole point of the announcement is that this is ~exactly~ how this group of Christians rolls.

  3. I am shocked that this “christian’ organization cant accept volunteers. I have been volunteering for 15 years thru another organizaton that helps Rescue Mission bimonthly with dinners & clothing. I am requesting my organization to disassociate themselves from R. M.
    I am a Christian & as such, believe that Jesus would accept your help.

  4. If your organization ever starts up it’s own ‘rescue mission’ to feed and help the homeless please let us know, I for one would gladly donate to help out. It’s too bad these so called ‘rescue mission’ have to put religion before feeding the homeless. Please keep us all posted.

  5. Seems to me that the name of the organization is incorrect. The name implies that everyone in KC is welcome either as a helper or as a recipient. Based on their exclusion of some KC residents they should change their to KC Christian Only Rescue Mission.
    Also I wonder if they returned all checks sent to them by atheists and non-believers?

  6. The representative on their Facebook page is now saying you guys are just mad that they want individuals, not groups, volunteering on Thanksgiving. You would think if that was the official reason for rejecting your volunteers, they would have told you “no groups this year” rather than not respond to your questions about not being a good fit.

    “Kansas City Rescue Mission Hi Marta, We have welcomed KCAC for two years and have really appreciated their help. We want to give others an opportunity to serve this year and are not taking any large groups, choosing families and individuals instead. We hope KCAC returns to volunteer on other projects with us after the first of the year.”

  7. As a Christian I am always disappointed when I see stories like this. I sincerely wish that more people that call themselves Christians would actually adopt the attitude of Jesus and stand side by side with anyone willing to help those who need help.

    Seeing actions such as being taken by this mission always make me wonder how strong their faith could actually be. I work with people of all stripes and beliefs when I volunteer my time with the homeless and needy my faith has never been threatened. In fact it usually bolsters my faith. To add to that, anyone distributing messages of their faith, and only their faith, with food that is needed needs to question how strong their message actually is, to resort to pandering in such a way.

    I can tell you that I would never exclude any person or group willing to help the homeless out of their own time and pocket and I certainly hope you would welcome me likewise.


  8. Almost flummoxed me with the math question, I went to the public schools 🙂

    I am neither Christian or Atheist but it’s clear to me that you’re good people who stumbled on the Holy Mother of Completely Missing Christ’s Point – on all counts; feeding the poor and welcoming unbelievers. Alas organized religion again proves to be a lousy ambassador for whatever whipped us out of primordial ooze, supernatural or otherwise.

  9. It gave you guys good PR though, right? You get to show off how goshdarn helpful you are while whining about discrimination about the hardknock life of an atheist. Here’s an idea: start up your own food mission instead of writing snarky articles about how mean the Christian organization was to you.

    Random question though: Did you guys rock those awesome Atheist shirts the last few years to help spread the word, or did you dress in plainclothes?

    Another great thing to keep in mind is that homeless people are hungry every day, not just on Thanksgiving. It’s awesome PR and the feels are just so incredible to “sacrifice” your Thanksgiving to give out free food, but keep in mind they need that every day.

    1. Queen you sound very bitter. Most atheists are not about doing good for the PR or public recognition. It’s called humanism. Doing good out of common decency and not for an eternal reward. Also, I don’t see anywhere in the article where Josh was whining about discrimination. He simply gave the reason why the KC Rescue Mission decided to not allow them to participate this year.

      Good idea on starting up their own food mission though!

      1. Nah, not bitter, just stating my opinion. You really think this group is doing this solely out of the goodness of their hearts? Well, first of all, they’re not doing it because they weren’t allowed to, and instead of making their own, they whined about it and wrote articles about it and blew the entire thing out of proportion.

        I guess you can say I AM a little bitter when it comes to the people who come out on Thanksgiving to feed the homeless. This has been going on for decades, and people do it to feel better about themselves. Where are they on a Tuesday in October? A Wednesday morning in February? This Thanksgiving schtick has been going on a long time, Christians, atheists, and other groups alike doing it to feel good.

        I’m aware that a lot of churches have things like soup kitchens and a weekly dinner and things like that. This specific Atheist tshirt group, do they have a hall or building where they have weekly meals and drives for the homeless? And if they do, that would honestly please me. I really hope they do.

        One last thing, for the record, I’m pretty sure Christians don’t do thinks this (helping the homeless) for bonus points or whatever you think it is in Heaven. I don’t think they view helping people as a videogame that gives them extra points in God’s eyes, or whatever you were implying with your “Doing good out of common decency and not for an eternal reward.” A lot of Christians I know are lazy fucks who don’t do anything for anyone because they think they’re “saved” and going to a magical land when they die, simply because they accepted someones’ death.

        1. While I cannot speak for everyone in the group you cannot simply say that all of the KCAC are doing it for selfish reasons. Perhaps some are and some are not but that doesn’t change the fact that the goal is to assist those less fortunate.

          I would say most people on Tuesday mornings are at work providing for families of their own. It’s not always easy to find free time and yes a lot of times we make excuses for not doing better but helping out whenever possible is a good thing!

          Again, I’m not sure if the KCAC has a hall or a location where they can host events or dinner but venues like those require money and many secular organizations are not well funded. Atheism/secularism is still sadly frowned upon in society which makes it hard for a lot of people to “come out of the atheist closet”. Once we shed this stigma perhaps there will be more funding and more opportunities for secular organizations to host charity events.

      1. And you would know this…how? Because I don’t advertise and make blogs about any volunteer work I do (and people do this to look good, otherwise they wouldn’t advertise it, it’s just that simple), I must not do anything? Great assumption, but you’re wrong.

        And I could be wrong about this, but I’m guessing this Atheist Club had a hidden agenda just as the Christians do in helping these people. Same as the Christians, I’m sure they didn’t keep their beliefs to themselves for the day and just shut up and fed homeless people – It *was* an agenda. And again, bet they wore those awesome shirts to advertise their cause.

        The whole “feeding the less fortunate on Thanksgiving” has always been the tackiest thing ever. People and organizations always do this for the 2 reasons: people – the “feels”, and organizations – PR. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s out of the goodness of ANYONE’S hearts. Otherwise they’d be doing it the other 364 days a year, and without making blogs for attention on it.

        Very hilarious assumption on your part though. I told them they should start their own soup kitchen, so I must not help the needy ever! Makes sense, you must be a detective or something.

  10. I think one of the main (and good) reasons that the KCAC group wears the identifying shirts is to show that even though we may not be of the same faith, we are still people who believe in doing good in our community. There are still many misconceptions about Atheists floating around the communities. Some people think we are evil and worship the devil, some people think that since we do not believe in a god that we have no morals and are just overall bad people. We don’t volunteer our time solely to advertise that we are of a different belief, but still care enough about others to volunteer our time, but also to make other people who may already share our views aware that there is a group of people that they can join. Atheism is very far from being an organized “religion” or lack-there-of… but I don’t think it’s hurting anyone when we wear our shirts to activities to help spread the word that we are in the community, and if anyone would like to join, then they are welcome to. I can’t speak for everyone, but I will say that I am not interested in pushing my beliefs onto anyone, or trying to recruit… we simply wish to make people aware that there is an atheist community where like-minded people are welcome to join us so that we may have discussions about our own beliefs… just as other faiths do on a weekly basis.

    We may not share the same religious beliefs as some of the agencies with volunteer with, but I don’t think religious beliefs are the main drive behind a person’s desire to help their community. It might make it easier to find opportunities to volunteer, but I don’t think it’s the main reason behind a person’s individual choice to donate their time to the less fortunate.

    And for everyone criticizing the fact that this event was only 1 day and homeless people are in need of food daily: no one is disputing the fact that they need assistance on a daily basis. However, I have a job during the week that I keep in order to feed myself, however I donate the time that I do have in order to help others. I am not personally able to feed the homeless on a daily basis, or I will end up being homeless myself, and then eliminating the possibility of having ANY time or money to donate to the cause. But helping even just 1 day out of the year is better than 0 days. So please stop criticizing those who have taken the time out of their day to actually get out in the community and help, even if it is just for 1 day out of the year, it’s still better than nothing.

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