Bourbon County Angels started because some local women saw that there are local families having a difficult financial time in their lives.
“We have seen a severe need in our community when we were doing Christmas (lists) for (area) children and a lot of them had clothing items on their wish list that was sent to us,” Lisa Thurston, Fort Scott, one of the three organizers, said. “We want to be able to provide the clothing items and household items and even food to those that are having a hard time.”
“We have clothing, hygiene items, household items, and food,” she said. “It is hard to say exactly what we have as it changes with every donation we receive.”
The group recently attained a building at 111 W. Third, Fort Scott, to house all the donations and allow for people to come and choose what they need.
“Mayor Kevin Allen gave it to us to use monthly, he is donating the building until grant money comes in,” Thurston said. “We have Melissa Guns writing grants for us.”
“We started the actual building adventure this January, but the ‘angels’ actually started just for Christmas two years ago,” she said.
The other organizers are Sara Roufs, Redfield and Erin Thurston, Lisa’s daughter, Fort Scott.
“Sara started Bourbon County Angels to provide Christmas presents for children,” she said. “People started volunteering so we started getting lists from about 75 families…this year we got 121 families. On their lists the kids were asking for shoes or coats or blankets. That’s when we decided to open a building and offer them all year long. So children could ask for toys instead of everyday items.”
“Living in a small town, we see a lot and we knew that there was a major need for people to be able to come get the items that we use in our everyday lives without having the worry of, (for example) if they got new shoes, how they could pay a bill or feed their families, and we want to be able to help with that. No one should have to stress over being able to get the stuff that they need. With everything going on right now, a lot of people have been left without jobs or just don’t make enough to be able to provide everything that is needed in our everyday lives.”
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the group received calls from people saying they needed food to make it through a few days.
“We would gather meals and deliver to their doorstep,” Thurston said. “We probably did 20 families when COVID was rough in our town. We have also been providing food for a homeless gentleman in our town.”
The group is planning several upcoming events:
Saturday, April 2 at the facility at 111 W. Third, the Easter Bunny will be there to hand out candy and have pictures taken with children, for free, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 9 at Lake Fort Scott’s handicapped dock, there will be a fishing tournament, sponsored by Backroads Bait. The fundraiser starts at 5:45 a.m. with a check-in and has a 2 p.m. weigh in. Proceeds will help the Bourbon County Angels with rent.
For more information contact Thurston at 620.644.8291.
See the latest information on the groups Facebook page.
Hours the facility is open are Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Saturdays are a donation exchange, she said. “Say kids clothes don’t fit anymore, you can leave those and take what you need. But some people just leave donations and some people just take what they need.”