Let’s Help has grown with the help of students

Tricia Friesen

Going to bed with a grumbling hunger pain is a reality. Some people are unemployed, uneducated and feel hopeless with nowhere to turn for help.

Let’s Help, a non-profit organization, was established in 1969 by Patty Coughlin, who distributed food and clothing to Topekans from the trunk of her car. Since then, Let’s Help has grown into an organization that provides several programs for senior citizens, adults and children. Let’s Help serves the Shawnee County area and works with both public and private organizations. The organization is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and to building a better community.

Stephanie Harsin, a Washburn University student, is a volunteer at Let’s Help. She works with adult students who are working towards their GED. She feels Let’s Help is a beneficial program for the people of Topeka.

“It’s an immensely successful program that provides direct services to people in need,” said Harsin.

Harsin works for Let’s Help through the Bonner Leadership Scholarship program. The scholarship was created to increase the education level of students by helping them develop the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in service work and make it more meaningful. Harsin thinks the scholarship provides real world experience in the workplace.

“The scholarship allows people to apply practical applications from the classroom. I can take teaching I learned in class and apply it and see how it works,” said Harsin.

Some of the services provided by Let’s Help include emergency food and clothing assistance, adult education, employment, job training and harvesters. On average, Let’s Help serves lunch to 300 people a day, five days a week and three Saturdays a month. The education and job training programs have 300 adult and youth participants.

“Let’s Help is an integral part of Topeka. It’s a go-to resource for a lot of things,” said Harsin.

On Tuesday, Feb.13, at the Let’s Help Building, 200 S. Kansas Ave., the education department and the students of Let’s Help will be hosting a “Dinner and a Show” as part of a fundraising effort for the organization. Tickets before Feb. 13 have a suggested price of $5 and tickets at the door have a suggested price of $7. Staff and students will be cooking and serving the dinner, as well as providing the entertainment in the talent show. For more information, please contact Preston at (785) 270-5111 or Mandy at (785) 270-5241.