PITTSBURG, Kan. — The Southeast Kansas Independent Living (SKIL) Resource Center hosted its annual free customer appreciation picnic in Pittsburg last week. While health precautions had to be taken amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event was a success, organizers said, with more than 60 people attending.


In a change from previous years, this year’s SKIL picnic, held in the parking lot of the Pittsburg SKIL office at 216 N. Broadway, was a drive-up, walk-up, or roll-up event, allowing attendees to stop by and get free meals, including hot dogs, chips, dessert and drinks, while maintaining social distancing.


"We had a great turnout," SKIL President/CEO Shari Coatney said in a press release. "SKIL staff from Sedan, Chanute, Columbus, Fredonia, Independence and Parsons came to help us pull together this event. We appreciated everyone who participated."


SKIL is a center for independent living that serves people with all disabilities or those whose environment is disabling. Headquartered in Parsons, SKIL has branch offices in Chanute, Columbus, Fredonia, Independence, Pittsburg and Sedan. Remaining 2020 SKIL free picnics will be held in Independence and Fredonia.


"The support shown to the SKIL Resource Center from the community, our customers and our staff has been amazing," said Independent Living Coordinator Christina Blair, who runs Pittsburg SKIL and headed the event.


"With the times that we are living in now, things have not been easy," Blair said. "Everything is changing, and still being able to provide our customers with a little bit of normal is a great feeling. The customers look forward to this free customer appreciation picnic every year and even though we had to get creative, I think those who were able to turn out enjoyed the change. If this helped them take their mind off of what has been going on around them, even for a few minutes, it was worth it."