The Pittsburg Ministerial Association has been part of the town for many years.

The Pittsburg Ministerial Association has been part of the town for many years.
“The association does not have a particular agenda,” said the Rev. Kevin Arensman, First Christian Church pastor who will serve as PMA president for the year. “We’re mostly about getting together, praying for each other and supporting each other. We also find things we can do together to help make the body of Christ one.”
Arensman said he would like to build bridges to local churches that are not part of PMA.
“We’d like to let them know that we pray for them,” he said.
There’s something else he wants to stress.
“We want the people of this community to know that the Pittsburg Ministerial Association is here to serve the community,” Arensman said.
One traditional way that PMA does this is through Project Warmth, the annual chili/soup feed founded by the association 22 years ago. Proceeds from the event provide utility assistance for those in need.
Mary Cash, who represents Community of Christ at PMA meetings, has been active with Project Warmth for years. She announced that the event will be held Oct. 22 at  Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium, with serving from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to  7 p.m.
“I’m getting ready now to send out letters to all the churches asking for donations of pies for Project Warmth,” Cash said.
The Pittsburg Salvation Army screens applicants for Project Warmth assistance, and all payments are made directly to the appropriate utility companies.
Capt. Gary Gugala, new Pittsburg Salvation Army post officer, introduced himself at the meeting. 
“I didn’t want to come to Pittsburg because they beat Detroit in the hockey playoffs,” he said. “Little did I know there was a Pittsburg, Kan.”
Arensman told of the upcoming Horn of Plenty food drive, scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 27. Volunteers will comb all the neighborhoods in Pittsburg and Frontenac to collect non-perishable food items for Wesley House.
“We’re hoping to involve all sections of the community in this,” Arensman said. “This would be a great activity for church youth groups.”
Food is just one need, added the Rev. Ken Butts, PMA vice president.
“Some basic needs are not being met, and one of those is toilet paper,” he said. “I’ve  heard of families that try to get by on one roll a week. As people of faith, we need to help meet these needs.”
“Giving food is a temporary solution,” noted Mike Hart, pastor of Trinity Southern Baptist Church. “What is the long-term goal? We have a food pantry at my church, and I talk with every person who comes through our door and asks for assistance. I try to find out their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs. I offer to sit down with people and help them make out a budget, but not one has taken me up on the offer.”
Cash noted that several Pittsburg churches have offered Financial Peace University, a 13-week program taught by Dave Ramsey that helps families do a total money makeover. The next session will start Sept. 6 at Community of Christ.
“We’ve also been talking about putting together some training,” Hart said.
Capt. Gugala, who has had training in working in substance abuse and addiction, said that many problems people face are chemically based.
“This issue needs to be addressed,” he said. “One step might be to do drug testing and find out just what people are taking, because addicts will never tell you the truth about what they’re on. We need to get the word out that we love people enough to find out what’s going in their lives.”
Caring is the basis for action.
“We have a downtrodden community, but also a loving and generous community,” Cash said.
“We have a broken world, and we’ve always had a broken world,” Arensman said. “The question is, how do we best serve? Jesus never quit serving people, so we can’t get discouraged and quit.”