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A Humble Story of Community

This story is only possible because someone asked a question, no one wanted to tell this story, they simply thought it was ‘the right thing to do’ for their community.

Like all companies supporting the foodservice industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, General Parts Group has been through a period of reorganization. This resulted in our Kansas City branch being assigned a new Regional Manager who is becoming familiar with her new location, asked why we were invoicing a client at zero dollars labor and cost for parts? Oh, ‘that is for City Union Mission, they’re a homeless shelter down the block, that’s what we do for them’ came the reply!

‘Oh really, please tell me more’ and so our short story begins.

Firstly, it is important to set the scene. General Parts Kansas City branch is in a semi-industrial urban setting not far from downtown, which like many other similar places faces some social challenges, one of the biggest being homelessness. All the members of our Kansas City food service equipment repair team see the plight of these people every day and so for no other reason than it being ‘the right thing to do’ the Branch Manager, Ernie Ketcham, and Service Manager, Mike Armstrong decided to walk down the block to the Mission and offer them a helping hand with their food service equipment repair needs, as they are neighbors after all.

There is not much more to say from the General Parts point of view, the satisfaction comes in the work and knowing you are doing the right thing rather than in the telling of this story. In fact, the branch was skeptical about this story being told at all ‘we’re just trying to help the community out, we didn’t do it for a pat on the back’ the branch manager told me. The response to Ernie was that I would simply ‘tell it as it is’ because it shows character, great community spirit and it might give a little extra attention to the good work the City Union Mission does.

If this story has grabbed your attention then please take a minute to visit cityunionmission.org, there is a lot of great information there, including how you can help. One fact that pops out to us above all else is that the Mission served 273,266 meals last year. That takes a little while to sink in, doesn’t it!

I will leave you with this, Ernie asked his technicians how they felt about working at the mission, here is just one of the email replies after which no more needs to be said!

‘Performing service at The City Union Mission feels like I’m helping my community and giving back to those who need a hand up. I believe that an act of kindness and a warm meal can go a long way towards helping those that need it. I’m happy to contribute my time to the city Union Mission and look forward to helping in the future. I’m proud to be part of a company that volunteers its resources, and to share General Parts Group with our local area.’ Thank You, Luke