Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Never definitively attributed to one source, the spirit of this proverb encapsulates the mission of Metro Lutheran Ministries (“MLM”), who want to offer a hand up, rather than a hand out. Started in 1971 by Kansas City Lutheran churches working in partnership, MLM helps people in need regardless of race, religion and nationality. Their goal is to provide clients a clear path to self-sufficiency through a continuum of care that immediately addresses short term stability and eventually helps clients achieve lasting stability.

Immediate needs are met through food assistance programs offering breakfasts, sack lunches and monthly food distributions and community gardens. Other initiatives focus on housing security and stability to help clients live in dignity and safety. Longer term needs are addressed through income sufficiency programs designed to educate and empower families to better control their own finances and futures.

Through offices in mid-town Kansas City, Kansas City-North and Wyandotte County, KS., MLM relies on over 2,000 volunteers that give over 17,000 hours of their time, a crucial component to meet the needs before them. Last year alone, they distributed 800 sack lunches to clients who came in for other types of assistance. They staffed and ran the Christmas Store, an annual effort to make Christmas a little merrier, helping more than 4,000 clients. They maintained the orchard and community gardens which produced over 2,400 pounds of healthy fare for the nearby neighborhoods. And they helped build 78 ramps to provide safe access to homes. But there is so much more that can be done with enough hands.

Mitchell Capital’s Phil Kernen and his family have supported the mission of, and volunteered with, MLM for over a decade in ways seen and unseen. You can learn how to become involved at

Please click here to view our disclosures.