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By David Knopf/Richmond News
Kris Peoples and like-minded friends at a Lawson church wondered what they could do to help people less fortunate than they were.
But in a relatively privileged area, knowing who and how to help isn’t always easy, Peoples said, since the congregants tended to associate with people whose needs were already being met.
“We couldn’t think of anyone,” said Peoples, the volunteer executive director of Meet the Need, a thrift store and flea market that provides food, clothing and other assistancefor people who’ve lost jobs, are ill or otherwise enduring hard times.
“In scripture, Christ wasn’t in the church or synagogue, he was out among the people,” she said. “We couldn’t find anyone to help, and if they don’t come to church we don’t know who they are.”
To solve the problem, Peoples and her friends incorporated their not-for-profit organization in 2004, opening the Excelsior Springs store shortly thereafter. Meet the Need’s mission, she said, is to serve people in northern Clay County and Ray County, although it’s rare for them to turn away a worthy recipient who lives outside the area.
The group initially rented space, then accumulated the resources to buy the building at 1302 N. Jesse James Rd. Meet the Need was and still is funded solely through sales of donated thrift-store items, booth rentals on the flea market/collectibles side of the operation and donations from individuals and churches.
The organization is faith-based, Peoples said, but not affiliated with any church or denomination.
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Meet the Need can accept tax-deductible monetary donations from churches and individuals via Paypal on its Web site (www.meettheneedinc.com) or by mail to Meet the Need, P.O. Box 130, Lawson, Mo. 64062. The organization’s thrift store and flea market are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.