Hundreds of volunteers were at intersections throughout the Kansas City area this morning to hawk special editions of today’s newspaper to raise money for disadvantaged children.
Greater Kansas City Day has become as much of an annual rite of spring as baseball, budding daffodils and a sold-out opening crowd at Kauffman Stadium.
Now in its 26th year, the event is a collaboration of The Kansas City Star, the Royals and area Rotary Clubs. Proceeds from the newspaper sales go to the Rotary Youth Camp Foundation as well as other children’s charities that help disabled and disadvantaged youth.
The event last year raised a record $137,000. Organizers hoped to match or exceed that amount this year.
This year, former Kansas City Mayor Charles Wheeler and Royals Hall of Famer John Mayberry, were the honorary co-chairs. Also today, the Royals celebrated their 40th anniversary season at the K. Wheeler was mayor when the stadium opened and Mayberry played first base.
One volunteer newspaper hawker, Matt Gamso of Brookside said sales were picking up early at Cleaver and Main Street.
“Things are going well,” Gamso said. “We’re getting smiles and a few dollars.”
The mood was festive at 63rd and Prospect, with a bagpipe quartet playing while former Kansas City Chiefs Bobby Bell and Warren Moon sold papers.
“We are going to help young kids go to camp and that’s really what it’s all about,” Moon said. “It gives kids a positive environment and some fun during the summer. We have to help those who can’t help themselves.
Vickie Godfrey of Kansas City purchased one of the special editions as she waited at the bus stop. Godfrey said it was important to support those youth who would benefit from the fundraiser.
“The kids are our future,” she said.
Some kids had unexpected fun from the hawkers. Michelle Zucca and her family were driving by when her children saw Chiefs mascot KC Wolf and asked their parents to stop. KC Wolf spotted them and ran over to pose for a few photos with the kids.
Negro Leagues museum president Bob Kendrick was helping out with the annual tradition that he said Buck O’Neil used to support, and he was looking forward to the Royals’ home opener this afternoon.
“All of us are excited, optimistic and hopeful about this year’s Royals team,” Kendrick said. “We’re all looking forward to a great season and people are excited about baseball in this town.”