On a chilly January day, hundreds of neighbors in eastern Kansas City flock to Macedonia Baptist church. They are greeted warmly at the door, where spirited Gospel music can be heard coming from the gymnasium down the corridor. This is where Mountaintop Inc. sets up shop every Wednesday to distribute food from its pantry to anyone who needs it—come rain or shine, ice or snow. Since opening the pantry in 2020, they have not missed a weekly distribution, and now serve around 300 individuals a week.
“We have not found a reason yet that we had to shut the doors for anybody, because we know people are in need,” says Lashawn Blackman, one of Mountaintop’s long-term volunteers. Watching Lashawn and the rest of the workers interact with those in line, it’s clear that they are experts at not only passing out food but building relationships, developing deep friendships with regulars.
That passion for connection and service extends all the way to Janice Muhammad, director of Mountaintop Inc. When asked about what prompted her to head up the ministry, she says that she comes by it honestly.
“It goes back to my dad,” she says. “He was a giver. It’s in my blood. I did 25 years at the postal service, and when I retired, I actually came here to a program to volunteer in the church office.”
On top of their food pantry, Mountaintop also has youth sports leagues and grief support groups, all that meet at the church. Mark Weaver, one of the pastors at Macedonia Baptist, sees their building as a community resource rather than just a place for their congregation to gather on Sundays.
“The interaction that we get with the community is so rewarding,” he says. “To see them come in with their gratitude and their appreciation—that we’re helping them and we’re taking care of them. I mean, you just can’t even put a value on that. That’s priceless.”
Open later than many other pantries in the city, Mountaintop Inc.’s distribution runs from 2 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday at 1700 E Linwood Boulevard in Kansas City Missouri. It’s a very diverse part of the city, and people of all races, family sizes, and housing situations can be found utilizing their services. They are committed to serving anyone who shows up with no qualifications, no need to prove anything and no strings attached. If you find yourself hungry, Janice and her team are here for you. No matter the weather.