KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A Christian charity organization in Kansas City has rejected an atheist group’s offer to help distribute Thanksgiving meals to the poor and elderly this year.
An official with the Kansas City Rescue Mission said the group wants to share its Christian message with people who receive the meals, and it does not believe the Kansas City Atheist Coalition would support that effort, The Kansas City Star reported.
“We are an unapologetically Christian organization, and we always have been,” said Julie Larocco, development officer for the Kansas City Rescue Mission. “We want to share the message with the people we serve that ‘God loves you, and you are not alone.’ It seemed to us that this (atheist) group probably would not want to deliver those meals.”
The Kansas City Rescue Mission began delivering holiday meals two years ago and decided to include a religious message with every food box and single-serving meal this year, Larocco said.
The Atheist Coalition has helped deliver the meals for two years but was told this year the coalition “would not be a good fit” for the charitable work, coalition president Josh Hyde posted Saturday on the group’s website.
Larocco said the Rescue Mission will have plenty of volunteers to provide about 2,400 Thanksgiving meals.
“Christmas and Thanksgiving are prime times for volunteers,” she said. “We get hundreds of people wanting to volunteer, and we have to say no. They (the atheists) have volunteered for two years in a row, for which we are so grateful, and we really like them and welcome them to come back to volunteer anytime they would like on other projects.”