Saturday, December 07, 2013

Christmas 2013

.... her husband and three children build a strong family.  Colette signed up for Baby University, and she learned that she was her children’s first teacher.  Her son, Blake, attended the KUO preschool, sponsored by Chapel Hill Christian Church; and her daughter, Abby, is part of the KUO Girl Scouts.  Collette’s family have eaten countless meals that you have supplied as she betters herself.  Collette and her family recently, moved out of a public housing apartment and are now renting a large house that will comfortably house her entire family.  The children are going to Upward Basketball because of connections that were made in the community.  They now have Hope!

Kokomo Urban Outreach now has a presence in 32 neighborhoods in Kokomo.  Hundreds of people are given Hope each week.   You provide about 64,000 meals each and every month….768,000 meals a year through  Buddy Bags, food pantries and cooked meals, all of which are supported by you.  Thank you.  

Children are showing improvement at school as parents learn through Baby University that all children are home schooled; they are home way more than they are at school….parents learn to keep teaching.  Because children have food, they are healthier. Because of donated clothing and hygiene supplies, children go to school clean and clean children are less likely to be bullied.  Because of social activities, children are developing a healthy self-esteem.
The impact you are having on the community is incredible, the presence of KUO can be felt all across the city.   Recently a local pastor, made the comment, “I can’t imagine our city without Kokomo Urban Outreach”.   I responded, “God is good!”    To impact our community on this scale it takes all of us—you, me, everyone.   Your end of the year gift will go a long way in impacting our community.

Christmas is all about hope.   Thank you for offering Hope to our neighbors who struggle. As you make decisions about year-end giving,  It is my prayer you will consider supporting Kokomo Urban Outreach. 

Christmas Blessings,

Jeff Newton

Jeff Newton and KUO staff 

Monday, October 07, 2013

Food Stamp Challenge

The food stamp challenge is one of the best ways to learn about the nutrition hurdles that low-income Americans face every day. The Challenge  entails eating on a budget of $4.34 per day day which is the average food stamp allotment in Howard County. 

Since restaurants do not accept food stamps, dollar value-meals and the like are off limits.   Anything taxable can not be purchased with food stamps, which means hot food in a grocery may not be purchased.  

My food stamp challenge week will be Oct. 14-20. Each day I will post what I ate and my thoughts about the day.   Join me.    Let's experience this together.  If you want to accept the challenge put your first name in the comment line below.  Drop me a line in the comment box or email me at

Be a Hunger Hero

During the month of October Kokomo Urban Outreach is endeavoring to fill the Food Pantries and to help make the community more aware of hunger and low food security. Hunger is defined as suffering from a discomforting sensation that may result in weakness, illness, and/or pain. Many of those who are hungry are children. Kokomo Urban Outreach sees families daily, who suffer from hunger and low and very low food security. According to the Indiana Emergency Food Resource Network web site, low food security is described as “three or more reported indications of food-access problems that resulted in diet quality reduction, but did not substantially affect the quality of food or their normal eating patterns. Very low food security is multiple reported indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake. In Indiana, 13.5 percent of households were considered to suffer from low food security from 2010-2012.

HUNGER HERO’S ARE NEEDED - Kokomo Urban Outreach is one of several organizations who are members of the Kokomo Food Pantry Network. According to data presented at the Network’s October meeting a total of 1,631 families received food during the month of September. “Kokomo Urban Outreach has provided food to 906 of those families” according to John Martin, Director of the KUO Food Pantries.

In order to serve 900 families, it takes approximately 5,000 pounds of food per week. To get through the month of October, “Hunger Heroes” are being sought to help provide 10,000 pounds of food and $10,000. The KUO food pantries rely on the generous donations of individuals, churches and grocery stores, who are some of our “Hunger Heroes”. Jeff Newton states that “currently fifteen percent of our guests are first time visitors to a Networked Pantry. Unfortunately, because of this increase our resources are severely stretched. The donations are just not coming in fast enough to meet the current demand. However we will do our best to continue to provide for those in need.”

THE HISTORY OF THE KUO PANTRY –Kokomo Urban Outreach has been providing food to families since 2007 when the first Food Pantry was opened. The first pantry was open for just a few hours per week and served approximately 20 families per week. As the food security decreased, creating more demand for food, KUO expanded to meet the needs of Kokomo and Howard County. KUO now has 5 weekly pantry locations which serve approximately 225 families per week.
Donations of non-perishable food pantry items may be delivered, during regular business hours, to the following locations:


MCALISTERS Deli – 2020 S. Reed Road – Donations may be made daily, however guests will receive a free tea for 2 food pantry donations EVERY Tuesday

2135 N. Washington
2206 W. Sycamore
2800 S. Reed Road
2825 S. Washington
221 W. Main St., Suite #2, Greentown
224 N. Main Street
300 E. Southway
1141 E. Hoffer St.
2405 W. Jefferson St.
ORANGE LEAF - 1660 E. Boulevard

PLANET FITNESS – Walmart Plaza



Canned Fruit
Chicken Noodle
Canned Vegetables
Canned Entrée (chili, ravioli, stew)
Toilet Paper
Ramen Noodles
Macaroni & Cheese
Peanut butter
Canned Meat (tuna, chicken, spam)
Side Dishes
Feminine Hygiene Items

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stories of Flood Affected Neighbors

A 92 year old man was reluctant to leave his rented house and all of his belongings. There was mold growing on walls and on his tile floor.  With no family in the area was finally convinced to go to a motel and a niece from Pennsylvanian  took him home with her.   While he escaped with his life he lost everything. 

We just received a thank you note from his niece saying,      " the first thing we did when we got to PA was get him to a doctor.  We caught his pneumonia just in time.  He is doing much better. He wants his own place but we agree it is best for him to stay here with us for now.  We had no idea how bad his house was.  He is very precious to all of us and he will be well taken care of.  Again thank you to Kokomo Urban Outreach and Officer Gunlight   for caring for him.
One man had just paid off his car, had it parked in front of his house and had no idea that the street was flooding in the middle of the night.  He is not sure what he is going to do.
A paraplegic was in her hospital bed during the flood.  The water  rushed across her in the middle of the night. She lost here electric bed an her electric wheel chair. For four weeks she slept on a futon mattress on the floor.   She is now in the hospital because flood waters gave her an infection.  Good News:  Homeland Security purchased a bed and wheel chair for her and she will be moving in with family members. 
Churches like Fresh Start, First Congregational Church and others were first on the scene after the flood water receded helping families carry out wet furniture, carpet etc.    Thanks church for being the Hands and Feet of Jesus.
Travis Taflinger of Bridges Outreach has spent countless hours in the homes of flood affected families, not only mucking out basements but listening and praying.
A ten year old boy and his mom and dad came to the Flood Recovery Center to get some clothes for the boy.  They did not know about the Center, the boy had no clothes.  He was wearing a pair of his dad's jeans, holding them up with his hands as he tried to walk without them falling down.  He had not been to school for three weeks.  Because of the community's generosity the young man has some clothing and went back to school.

I could go on and on.  Deanna a KUO staff person did a great job in organizing and helping our neighbors.  If you want to hear more stories just ask her.   Please keep all flood affected families in your prayers.  Just because the water is gone and things look good on the outside of a house, there is still a great deal of damage on the inside both with physical structures and spirituality. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flood Recovery Center Final Report

Flood Recovery Center Report
 May 24, 2013

 Special Thanks to the following for in-kind donations: American Party Time, First Congregational Church, Kokomo Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Center Township Trustee, Merrill Brothers, Convoy of Hope, Clifford Signs, Grace UMC, Doug Bray Select Equipment, Red Cross, Motel 6, Kokomo Housing Authority, RD Phillips, Morning Star, Sears, JC Penny. Value approx. $60,000-75,000

 Other In-Kind donations(furniture, clothing, toys, household items etc) from individuals valued at approx. $150,000 

 Over 300 volunteers provided 887 hours valued at over $18,000.

 Kokomo Urban Outreach provided 430 staff hours valued at approx. $4,800.

 Nearly 3 tons of food was distributed at Center, about 4 tons of food donated to Center.  (No food was used from Post Office Drive at the Center) 

The Flood Recovery Center staff stood by and walked with  127 families representing 508 people. 

KUO has received a bit over $7,000 from local churches for immediate flood relief. With those funds KUO provided: Gas Cards, Grocery Gift Cards, Fast Food Cards, about 77 nights and extended night stays in Motels( while working with families to find other shelter), application fees for apartments, and utility deposits. 

 Right at a quarter of a million dollars was donated both with in-kind gifts and cash. THANK YOU!!!!!!

Families now will go through case-management to see if needs can be met.

United Methodist Flood Grant Details

·        INVOAD Casework will help determine family needs, however, KUO has total control of Grant Funds;

·        funds will be issued to and administered by Kokomo Urban Outreach ("KUO");

·        funds may be used for any disaster related repair, supply or equipment for the primary residence of KUO approved homeowners including, but not limited to drywall, water heaters, furnaces;

·      KUO must confirm with the local taxing authorities that all property taxes are paid current prior to funding improvements or supplies for said property;

·        KUO will make best effort to record and report to the INUMC Disaster Response Team the number of families/ homeowners benefitted through these grant dollars.