Carrie Rengers

It’s a happy Operation Holiday with donated warehouse space

Inter-Faith Ministries’ Operation Holiday
Inter-Faith Ministries’ Operation Holiday File photo

Operation Holiday has found its Christmas angel.

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that Inter-Faith Ministries needed temporary space for its annual assistance program that provides 14,000 Wichitans with food, toys, gift cards, pet food, blankets and outerwear.

Businessman Gene Johnson saw the item and offered a warehouse on West Second Street between Seneca and Meridian on the same campus as Apex Engineering International.

“We are absolutely thrilled that we’ve got a place,” says Carolyn Kell, Inter-Faith’s marketing coordinator.

The site isn’t perfect – for Inter-Faith or Apex.

“It’s absolutely a sacrifice for them,” Kell says.

The company lets employees use the warehouse for boats and RVs, so Kell says it will be inconvenient to have to move everything.

For Operation Holiday, the warehouse doesn’t have enough parking.

“I’m sure we can make it work, but it’s going to take a little patience on the part of everybody to deal with the congestion in the parking area,” Kell says.

A shuttle will help alleviate some crowding, she says.

Distribution is Dec. 15 to 17.

Ted Branson of Landmark Commercial Real Estate is helping with the deal for Inter-Faith to use the space. He’s also listing the 30,000-square-foot warehouse for lease after Operation Holiday is over.

Kell says Inter-Faith depends on the community for Operation Holiday space every year.

“It would be wonderful to have a dedicated space,” she says.

However, Kell says the nonprofit’s main focus is on homeless shelters and other services.

She’s not sure what Operation Holiday will do for a building in the future.

“We’re just so relieved to get in one this year.”

Culinary students from Butler Community College cook a holiday meal using food typically found in a donation food box from Operation Holiday. (Nov. 5, 2015)

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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