Steve Rose

A huge holiday gift reflects community spirit

Salvation Army’s holiday food boxes, like these in preparation for a drive in 2008, got a generous boost this year from the Cosentino grocery family.
Salvation Army’s holiday food boxes, like these in preparation for a drive in 2008, got a generous boost this year from the Cosentino grocery family. File photo

Two large semitrailers of food were scheduled to arrive Saturday at the local headquarters of the Salvation Army, in time for Christmas dinners to be delivered to 6,000 families throughout the metropolitan Kansas City area, from Olathe to Grain Valley.

It is, by far, the largest contribution to the local Salvation Army’s Christmas project, and it came out of the generosity of Cosentino’s Food Stores, which owns 27 grocery stores in the Kansas City metro. It should be noted that I heard about this amazing gift from another source, and that the Cosentino family was, at first, reluctant to have any publicity, but after a family meeting, they finally acquiesced.

As a result, there are no comments from the Cosentino family.

But from the Salvation Army, I received the details of this enormous gift.

Here is just a sample of what is on the pallets in the trailers:

▪ 6,000 hams.

▪ 10,752 cans of tuna.

▪ 9,792 cans of macaroni and cheese.

▪ 8,060 cans of corn.

▪ 8,060 cans of peas.

▪ 9,792 cans of macaroni and cheese.

▪ 9,600 bottles of Gatorade.

And, there are thousands of cans of peanut butter, spaghetti, corn muffin mix, pork and beans, fruit cocktail and Vienna sausages.

Carl DiCapo, a community volunteer and former restaurateur, who, with a small committee, has been actively involved in acquiring goods for the Salvation Army for many years, said that for the first time, the local Salvation Army will not have to spend any money to buy food.

Other grocery stores also made generous gifts to the Salvation Army, just not on the scale of Cosentino’s, which was the largest single donor for this project, according to Major Evie Diaz, leader of the Kansas and Western Missouri area for the Salvation Army. This area has been serviced by the Salvation Army for 125 years.

“Nobody in the United States will eat as well as folks in Kansas City,” said DiCapo, who has given so much of his time as a volunteer to Kansas City projects that he has both a street and a fountain named after him.

In addition to food, the area Salvation Army has major gifts that will also be distributed to families in the metro area. Corporations, foundations and individuals contribute major sums. As but one example, for this Christmas there is a significant gift of 16,000 toys.

According to Diaz, the Kansas City area is sixth of all cities in the nation in overall Christmas giving.

It is too late to add anyone to the list of recipients, according to Diaz. But families can register with the Salvation Army, if they meet the criteria for income and other factors.

Certainly, the Salvation Army is not the only organization that provides for the needy, year round, in the Kansas City area. There are too many to name, and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out.

This is but one story about one donor to one organization that captures the generosity of this entire community.

To reach Steve Rose, longtime Johnson County columnist, send email to