Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Bethany Kennedy: The Secretly Incredible Humanitarian

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From Jeremy: I want you to meet Josh and Bethany Kennedy. After finding themselves homeless, friends, family and strangers reached out to help them. And they learned the power of love and helping those in need. This is their story about starting a non-profit called Klothe-a-Kid and stepping into their secretly incredible story.

You can learn more about them at their website or their Facebook page.

JS: You and your husband run a nonprofit from your living room. What is your mission with Klothe-a-Kid (KAK)?

Bethany: We are a non-profit that helps meet the needs of others by loving them. Our mission statement is this:

Our mission is to be a courageous and contagious, in your face, bold, genuine, outpouring of the Father’s Love. We desire to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the hurting, neglected, forgotten, hungry, abused, addicted, and oppressed.  To seek them out, meet them and love them right where they are, just as Jesus would do, and to offer a glimpse of what His Kingdom looks like.

Josh, Bethany and their 4 children

JS: You mention meeting people where they are, what does this look like for you?

Bethany: There are people that will never step foot in our churches. They won’t come to where we are for many reasons. Financial obstacles. Physical distance. Shame.

We believe that our job is to go to them. We go to their physical location. Where they live. And then we also meet them where they are spiritually and emotionally. This is the hardest and most important part of what we do.

We start with their basics needs such as clothing. When we show up with free clothes, it is the first step in developing a relationship. Once we have built trust, then we can help them in other ways.

Our hope is to tell them that Jesus loves them by first showing them that we love them. And through us they can catch this glimpse of the kingdom.

JS: Where do you get the clothes that you distribute and how do you get them to the people who need them?

Bethany: The clothes just show up. When my husband and I decided that we would do this, we began by just telling a few friends. Like most of us, their closets were full of stuff they don’t need and don’t wear. So they gave them to us.

I find that when you are willing to take other people’s junk, they can be very generous. Our friends kept telling their friends, and it gradually grew. We rarely ask for donations. They just show up.

Before we started we wondered where everything would come from. In fact, this kept us from starting for a long time. We thought we needed to have every problem solved. We learned later that the most important thing to do is start, and then we discovered how to solve the problems.

When we do a clothing drop, we go to those with the need. We load up our trailer and then find an area where we know there are people with these needs. We show up and put clothes out on the side of the street. We then go around and knock on people’s doors to let them know that we are there and we have free clothes.

JS: And people show up?

Bethany: Do they ever. The sad thing is that many of the children show up by themselves. Most of the time these children are looking for clothes for their parents, the very ones who neglect them.

JS: Why did you start KAK?

Bethany: We both felt We needed to do something different with our lives, but didn’t quite now what it was. Then God showed us by sending a devastating house fire.

Two days after we moved into a new house, and before our insurance was final, our house, with everything we owned in it, completely burned. We lost 90% of our belongings including our clothes, shoes, socks, underwear, coats, soap, toothbrushes, blankets, beds, furniture, pillows, toys, etc.  Everything.

All this, while literally having no money in our pockets or bank.  We were left homeless and stuffless with 3 kids and one on the way. And it was Christmas.  Talk about a big pill to swallow. Try that one?! No, wait, don’t!

For the first time we were the ones in need. Then our friends and family showed up. Even strangers. They helped us back on our feet. They gave us clothes and food and most importantly love. What a blessing they were!

I realize now why God allowed me to feel a few moments of such desperation and dependance. He wanted me to sympathize with the thousands of people all around me who live in this same need. These people are my neighbors and they need my help. God wanted me to step up and to help clothe and feed and love them just as others had done for me.

JS: What is the greatest need that people have?

Bethany: Love! This is the mod important and powerful thing we can offer. To love people. To care about them. To take the time to find the value in them. It is actually easier to offer clothes and food to people than it is to really love them.

But when we do choose to love them, it can change everything.

One of the ways that we love people is to offer them clothes and food and blankets and shoes and hugs and prayers. We offer them a listening ear. We offer them encouragement. But if we do all of these things without love, then it doesn’t work.

JS: How can we help KAK?

Bethany: We need prayer. It can be emotionally and physically draining at times. This is when we have to dig deeper still to let His love show through us. Prayers definitely help get us through.

We need people to help to help us love others. We need people to join us when we go out and share. We need people to help us fold, sort, and organize clothes. We need help with follow up visits with the families we meet. We always need donations. We need money to help pay for everything we need to get clothes to people.

JS: Bethany, thank you for sharing. Thank you for being an example of someone who chooses to love and to do a hard work for the benefit of other people. Thank you for being that somebody.

Have you ever experienced this kind of need? Have you ever experienced this kind of love?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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17 Replies

  1. What a powerful line, Bethany, “It’s easier to give people clothes and food than it is to really love them.” Ouch! Thanks for everything you do to make a difference.

    Great interview, Jeremy.

    Katie

  2. Love your heart to love those in need, Bethany :-)

  3. I have witnessed her heart and it is a beautiful thing.

  4. Incredible.  What an inspiring story.  I am constantly amazed at the love of Christ that is shared with people who have gone through such tragedy as Bethany and her family did in their house fire.

    Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the Mission Statement.  (Yeah, I am a softie at heart.)  What a great life mission. 

    God bless you!

  5. I thought it was one of the best mission statements I have ever read, too. I love the “courageous and contagious” statement.

  6. Indeed.  The “in your face” has INTENTIONAL written all over it. 

    I need to go visit their website.  Now.

  7. Your story is extraordinary and inspiring. 

    This line touched my heart – Do they ever. The sad thing is that many of the children show up by themselves. Most of the time these children are looking for clothes for their parents, the very ones who neglect them.

    Thank you Jeremy for sharing this.

  8. This story is truly what life is all about, LOVE. The Gospel is love. Speaking from personal experience of being homeless at one point in my life, I can relate to feeling as if my entire world had just fallen apart. Then God sent amazing people just like Josh and Bethany, to help me piece things back together again. Only God can take a devastating situation or tragic life event and use it to create something so beautiful.

  9. Glad to hear there was help when you needed it.

  10. Mary Beth

    There really is a need to love senior citizens at homes when I see them smile it makes me smile and I know they have listening hearts so I am open to talking to them about Jesus and sharing my heart with them.

  11. Thanks for bringing this up, Mary Beth. It hasn’t been on my radar as much, but I agree with you, it is important.

  12. Beautiful story Bethany. Love the work you are doing. God bless you, expand your reach and continue to use you greatly. 

    Thanks for sharing the story Jeremy

  13. It’s not always easy to live in the give and take of community but it’s so important. I’m blessed to have received amazing love in my life.  Thank you for sharing your heart Bethany, what a testimony to grace.

  14. A huges thanks for sharing “good” work that is going on.  Uplifting and encouraging.  We can do – and we can do more.

  15. The Kennedy’s truly are amazing.

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