It’s easy to understand Della Lamb Community Services’ role. That includes now, back in the ’50s and at the beginning of the 20th century. Carefully read Della Lamb’s Mission and you’ll quickly understand:

Della Lamb Community Services exists to empower its clients to meet the challenges of education, employment and self-sufficiency in an ever-changing world. It’s vision is that every individual will be nourished, educated, and supported in an atmosphere of love and respect to permit them to achieve their full potential.

During its 116 years and in an ever-changing world, Della Lamb (DLCS) developed a network of services which move children and families out of poverty and toward an improved quality of life.

DLCS serves the needs of 2,000-plus low-income families every day in the northeast Kansas City, Mo., area. This includes rent and utility assistance, food, clothing, and other emergency services. These are consider the basics of life.

Yet in 1999 DLCS also recognized that the route to move from being impoverished to self-sufficient is education so Della Lamb established the first Charter School in Missouri. Today, more than 600 students (Kindergarten through 8th grade) attend the Della Lamb Charter School, which was recently spun off from DLCS and now operates as separate corporation.

Overall, DLCS provides five other Core Services:

  • Early Education
    Provides children six weeks old to pre-kindergarten a full breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack daily and a curriculum based on age delivered by certified early education instructors.
  • Youth and Recreation Services
    Offers 1,000 inner-city youth, ages 6 to 17, experiences in camping, athletic camps and seven year-round sports and community service opportunities. Also, tutoring and homework assistance support the DLCS academic focus.
  • Emergency Services and Seasonal Help
    Besides rent and utility assistance, DLCS offers use of a food pantry, senior-related services including home-bound meal deliveries, transportation for medical services or to work, school supplies and gifts and groceries to make the family Thanksgiving and Christmas special.
  • Refugee Immigrant Resettlement
    The newest DLCS service began in 2014. More than 200 persons have been resettled since, most from east or tribal African countries. Refugees are provided housing arrangements, furnishings, assistance with employment opportunities, legal/government support and English language training (ESL) — all for the purpose of gaining self-sufficiency.