Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Center in near Obscurity Helps Homeless ; Local Agency Operating out of House near Downtown Survives Thanks to Loyal Few Supporters

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Center in near Obscurity Helps Homeless ; Local Agency Operating out of House near Downtown Survives Thanks to Loyal Few Supporters

Article excerpt

Local charities can count on a large amount of contributions coming into their coffers this time of year as people are in the holiday spirit of giving.

Their sense of urgency is accelerated by the fact that the end of the year is near, and donations made to nonprofits between now and Dec. 31 are eligible for tax deductions.

Then there is the Christian Neighbor Center, which for decades has been getting by on a shoestring budget composed of financial contributions from a few loyal supporters, plus donations of food and clothing from a handful of individuals and businesses in the capital city.

Operating out of a house at 107 S.W. 14th, on the south fringe of downtown Topeka, the Christian Neighbor Center rather quietly goes about its business of reaching out with a hot cup of coffee, a warm coat and a prayer for anyone who might drop into its location just south of downtown Topeka.

The clientele has included, at various times, the homeless, the mentally ill, recently released inmates, drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes.

"All of the above," said James Kincade, 63, the longtime director of the Christian Neighbor Center. "We welcome everybody. We don't turn anyone away."

Kincade himself does the honors in the kitchen, serving meals Tuesdays through Fridays to anyone who might walk through the center's front door.

Much of what is served are leftovers donated by local restaurants, churches or individuals -- healthy, nutritious food that otherwise would be going to waste.

Kincade picks up some of the items, with others brought to the center by volunteers.

When he is inside the center, Kincade said he has trained his ear to listen for the honking of car horns. When he hears one, he said, he races out the front door to pick up whatever that person is dropping off. …

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