With the assistance of faith-based organizations, community members and groups, Doorstep, Inc. will provide short-term emergency aid to individuals in need and provide information on services to promote long-term self-sufficiency for our clients.
On June 8, 1966, a tornado roared through Topeka. In minutes, 17 people were killed and hundreds were injured in addition to damages totaling right at $100 million. Thousands of people were in need of shelter, food, clothing and furniture. One of the agencies lending help to the people in need was a six-month-old agency named Doorstep, born of the need that six congregations saw for help at their own “doorstep.” The tornado seemed to galvanize Doorstep and provide us focus.
Doorstep grew by leaps and bounds and was providing many community and Christian service needs in Topeka. Doorstep had a daycare and clothing bank that were located in Central Congregational Church. The food bank was located at Central Presbyterian Church. There were numerous other programs such as The Salt Company, which was a coffee house for teens; sewing and cooking classes; transportation; travel to seminars to educate young people; low-cost housing; forums for discussing welfare reform; and help with high school certifications and grants to get into college. Doorstep also bought and fixed up dilapidated houses and resold them for a monthly price that a low-income family could afford in addition to sponsoring beautification and playground projects.
White and black ministers acted as mediators between parents of black students and Topeka schools after a strike and convinced the parents to send the students back to school. Segregation had only recently been done away with, and these were fragile times; however, Doorstep trudged ahead. Ministers from Doorstep sat in with police, parents, kids and experts to figure out why street fights were breaking out. They found the cause to be attitudes of discrimination passed from one generation to another. Doorstep used its daycare to introduce the races to one another. Doorstep has always been a remarkable example of people working together across denominational and racial lines without losing focus.
Through the years, Doorstep has evolved into a modern faith-based emergency aid agency. Along the way, certain needs in the community were taken care of by other organizations and businesses. Doorstep continued to change and grow to fit the need becoming what we are today. Doorstep started out operating out of Central Congregational Church with the food bank being located in Central Presbyterian and Grace United Methodist. With the need growing, Doorstep needed more space and secured the building at 12th and Washburn in 1981.
Unfortunately, the need continued to grow, and additional space was needed. In 1993, The building at 10th and Buchanan was purchased, where Doorstep operates today. The building at 12th and Washburn opened as “The Dovetail Shoppe” (a thrift store) in November 1994 and closed in April 2018.
Doorstep has had some kind of Christmas Store for at least 47 years. We participated in the first CROP Walk in 1976 and did every year until it ended in 2016. We have provided the Topeka community with clothing and household furnishings for 52 years. Doorstep has helped more than 385,000 households with services, which involves over 945,000 individuals.
Doorstep has always operated with input from each member congregation making this organization their own. The staff and volunteers through the years have shown God’s love through their actions and helping hearts. From the very first executive director, Donna Kidd, who held that position for 12 years, to our current executive director, Lisa Cain, who has been here for more than 25 years in various positions, dedication and conviction is what this organization is made of.
Doorstep’s goal in the beginning was “to provide short-term emergency service, to be aware and use other organizations for long-term assistance and become an advocate in helping people.” In that respect, things haven’t changed much at Doorstep. Where do we go from here? Wherever it is, we know that neighbors will continue helping their neighbors at Doorstep!
Asbury Mt. Olive United Methodist Church
Calvary Baptist Church
Capital City Community Church of God
Central Park Christian
Christ The King
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Community of Christ
Countryside United Methodist Church
Crestview United Methodist Church
Faith Lutheran Church
First Baptist Church
First Christian Church
First Church of the Nazarene
First Congregational Church
First Lutheran Church
First Presbyterian Church
First United Methodist Church
Grace United Methodist Church
Highland Heights Christian Church
Islamic Center of Topeka
Lowman United Methodist Church
Mater Dei Catholic Parish
Most Pure Heart of Mary
New Life Baptist Church
New Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Our Savior’s Lutheran
Prince of Peace Lutheran
Sacred Heart Parish
Shiloh Baptist Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian
St. David’s Episcopal
St. John African Methodist Episcopal
St. John’s Lutheran
Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church
Temple Beth Sholom
Topeka Friends Meeting
Unity Church of Christianity
University United Methodist Church
Wanamaker Seventh-Day Adventist
Wanamaker Woods Nazarene
West Side Baptist
West Side Christian
Need Help? Let Us Know!
1119 SW 10th Ave.
Topeka, KS 66604-1105
Office open: M-F 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Client service hours: M-F 9 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.