“Be the change you want to see in the world” ~ Ghandi

In the legal profession, October marks the month when charitable and political giving is on the rise. Law firms and lawyers receive numerous requests for donations to a variety of causes: battered women’s shelters; campaign donations; food pantries; and organizations that care for the most vulnerable. While many lawyers fight for causes they believe in on a daily basis through client advocacy and pro bono work, giving back to the community monetarily is also important. Many organizations are supported solely through charitable contributions and do not receive government funding. Here are some of the causes AGR Legal Services, LLC has and is supporting this year:

Lee’s Summit Meals on Wheels: I’m from Lee’s Summit and most of my family still lives there. The Board members are unpaid and the work – delivering meals to the elderly and disabled – is done by volunteers who use their own vehicles and pay for their own gas. This organization, unlike some, has extremely low overhead so almost all the money donated goes directly to those in need. Thousands of hot meals are delivered each year to those who otherwise could not enjoy such meals on their own, affording these folks a level of independence they might not be able to enjoy.

End the Backlog: I was stunned to discover that Kansas City, Missouri has over 1,000 rape kits that are awaiting DNA testing. How old some of these kits are is unclear, but recently, $337,197 in government funding was granted to the KCPD to test 490 rape kits – that’s less than half the estimated kits in storage. For victims of sexual assault, closure is key. For the general public, testing these kits and bringing suspects to justice is paramount to ensuring the safety of women and children. I am often perplexed at how our tax money can fund such projects like street cars, and yet, there is a critical budget shortfall for DNA testing for rape kits. Regardless, it is apparent there is a need waiting to be filled.

Cultivate KC: Obesity and diabetes are on the rise. The use of pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified plants in taxpayer-subsidized commercial farming is costing thousands of dollars in patent infringement litigation, bankrupting family owned farms. What better way to solve a handful of problems at once than with a sustainable, organic, urban gardening program? Shares in these urban garden programs are reasonable, and for your participation, you get a big bag of fresh, organic, seasonal, locally grown vegetables each week. What better way to beautify and put urban spaces to good use, while taking care of the health of your family and the environment?

Hope Haven of Cass County: This is the ONLY women and children’s shelter in Cass County, Missouri. Women who are in violent relationships are often faced with horrendous choices, such as whether to “stick it out” with their assailant just so they can keep a roof over their – and their children’s – heads. Having a place to go in order to end the cycle of violence is critical. This shelter not only takes in women and children, they also accept donations, such as your used clothing, furniture, housewares, toiletries, and children’s clothes, toys, diapers, and accessories like strollers and cribs. Many of these women have nothing, leaving with just their essentials, and when they get back on their feet they need these donations to start a new household for themselves and their children.