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United Way of Greater Topeka continue to help with drive-up food giveaway



TOPEKA, Kan. – The United Way of Greater Topeka volunteers and adopters visit people’s homes to deliver meals and gifts, but they had to make adjustments Thursday morning.

The Christmas Bureau Program couldn’t let COVID-19 play scrooge, so they lined up outside Lee Arena at Washburn University and let cars drive up to them.

Normally, the Christmas Bureau adopters shop, and deliver meals and gifts in-person, but because of COVID-19, they gave out gift cards to families in an effort to avoid physical contact and reduce any risk. Thursday morning they hosted a drive-up food giveaway.

Stephanie and Qyaunazia Perkins were one of the many lined up in their car. They said it’s a blessing United Way of Greater Topeka could continue to help.

Stephanie said, “For the people that are less fortunate and even with the pandemic and everything going on, you know, people are needing help more than ever.”

Volunteers made sure people will have Christmas dinner by handing out holiday meal supplies to those who signed up to receive them. Director of Volunteer Engagement Jessica Newman Barraclough is happy to see the program come to fruition this holiday season.

“A ham or a turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, all kinds of good stuff even a pie. So, we’re excited to be able to share that with families this year,” she said. Stephanie said, “They are going to be so blessed. They are taking their time out to help the community, to communicate with the community and it’s a blessing.”

Qyaunazia added, “I believe that there are more blessings to come and I believe that the community will be gathered more as whole because this is the time to come together.”

Barraclough said she had no worries the United Way of Greater Topeka volunteers could make it work.

“Whether that’s because of they were laid off or they got sick or whatever the case may be. People are being affected by this pandemic in a really big way,” she said. “I think that’s another one of the reasons why we felt we needed to keep this program alive.”