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Kennedy pitches in at homeless shelter in KC

Veteran passes out pre-Thanksgiving meals for third straight year at City Union Mission
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- On Nov. 13, for the third straight year, Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy went to the City Union Mission to help distribute a pre-Thanksgiving Day meal for the homeless.

Kennedy helped serve nearly 200 meals to poverty-stricken and homeless men and women.

KANSAS CITY -- On Nov. 13, for the third straight year, Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy went to the City Union Mission to help distribute a pre-Thanksgiving Day meal for the homeless.

Kennedy helped serve nearly 200 meals to poverty-stricken and homeless men and women.

"Personally, I really look forward to coming here every year, just meeting the City [Union] Mission people and some of the guys here," Kennedy said. "Today, they've been asking me where my kids are, because I usually bring one or two of my kids. Hopefully I will keep doing this when I retire one day."

Those receiving meals gave a hearty applause to Kennedy for his dedication after the pre-meal prayer. But Kennedy said he gets as much satisfaction out of the day as anyone else.

"I just enjoy the spirit of these people," Kennedy said. "They're mostly just grinding through life. They've had a tough go of it. Some guys are just as happy as can be, and are optimistic, but you pray over all of them. Some guys are more open to talk about it, some aren't. Some like talking baseball. Some say they'd like to hit off me. I said, 'Well, a lot of people would.'"

Kennedy's efforts aren't limited to one day per year: he spends at least one day per month at various Mission Centers across the Kansas City area.

"The Mission has become part of our monthly routine, especially the Family Center," Kennedy said. "[My wife] Allison will bring crafts for whatever holiday is near for the Family Center. It's always fun and we look forward to it."

Since 1924, the City Union Mission has provided warm beds, nutritious food and a safe place for thousands of homeless men, women and children in the Kansas City area. The ministry relies solely on support from individuals, churches, foundations, organizations and businesses.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Ian Kennedy