Fourteen months ago, Mike Munsterman, of Warsaw, lost his wife of 29 years, Krystal, to a sudden, unexpected heart attack. Although devastated, he remembered her wish to give clean socks and shoes to the homeless, and with that wish Krystals Dream was born.
“We used to like to do a lot of primitive camping,” he said at LifePointe Church on Wednesday. “One day we were on the way back from a camping trip and my wife said nothing felt better than a brand new pair of socks and shoes. She said ‘let’s do this for the homeless.’ Back then I thought it was a great idea, but I thought we had more time.”
After Krystal’s death Dec. 19, 2014, Munsterman said he made his first run in February 2015 to Kansas City with a supply of socks and shoes in her memory.
“We took about 65 pairs of shoes and several packs of new socks with us,” he said. “We just gave it all away. The people were just so grateful and it just became a passion for me.”
In the last year, Munsterman has given away 900 pairs of shoes.
“I just couldn’t do it enough, I wanted to do it everyday,” he added.
A friend of Munsterman’s recommended he visit Karl Woo, of Kansas City, who owned an art gallery near the Plaza.
“Basically what he does, he runs a program called Artists helping the Homeless,” he said. “He owns an art gallery and the way he got started was nine years ago he kept looking out the window seeing homeless people come by. He thought ‘what can I do to help them?’ So on a Sunday afternoon he fixed a meal for them.”
Munsterman added that with his first meal Woo fed 45 to 50 people, but after nine years of serving Sunday afternoon meals, Woo has fed 140,000 homeless people.
“He’s not missed one Sunday,” Munsterman added. “He still an owner of an art gallery, but now he’s shifted his focus to helping the homeless. He was nominated for Citizen of the Year in Kansas City last year. He’s just so inspirational.”
Munsterman called Woo and he met him in Warrensburg to discuss Krystals Dream. Woo invited Munsterman to coordinated his March 2015 run with his 4 p.m. Sunday meal, at Mill Creek Park.
“It was just amazing,” Munsterman added.
Since February 2015, Munsterman has made a run each month either locally or to Kansas City. In 2016 he plans to make bi-monthly runs in order to build up a better supply of donated items.
“We’ve had two (runs) in Sedalia,” he said. “It’s not just an event. A lot of times people will call needing different things and no matter where they are at, I always try to deliver to them or meet them somewhere.”
He added that he not only helps the homeless with socks and shoes but also the needy, who may need shoes for their children. In the last two weeks Munsterman has brought shoes and socks to the Community Café and delivered three vehicle loads to the Pettis County Community Partnership in Sedalia.
Munsterman also tries to give out hygiene kits and Bibles when possible.
Three churches have been instrumental in helping Munsterman with donations: LifePointe in Sedalia, Pyrmont Lutheran in Stover, and Braursville Emmanuel Lutheran in Cole Camp.
“There are some ladies who go to Braursville that make homemade quilts,” he said. “We team up with another gentleman who goes to church here; him and his wife started Blanket of Blessings. They donate blankets.”
Since October, the women from Braursville Lutheran have made approximately 40 to 50 quilts to pass out to the homeless.
“It’s just been an outpouring from everywhere,” Munsterman said.
In March he plans to have an event in the Warsaw area.
“I’ve met several people down there, and I realize there’s a need,” he noted.
His wife, Krystal, is never far from his thoughts. While on one of his runs in Kansas City a homeless man gave Munsterman some unforgettable words of wisdom.
“One day I was up there and a gentleman came up to me,” he said. “He said ‘this is Kansas City are you all with a big corporation or something?’ I just told him that we were a family of people that knew a very special lady that wanted to show you God’s love.
“That guy just turned around and looked at all the people who were getting shoes, and I told him the story about what had happened,” Munsterman added. “He said ‘well she’s still alive, just look around.’ He gave me a big hug and I bawled like a baby.”
For more information or to donate to Krystals Dream call Munsterman at 473-1266 or visit www.facebook.com/Krystals-Dream-1010744862275232/?fref=ts. Donations may also be delivered from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to Kim Cormican at LifePointe Church at 2500 E. Broadway Blvd.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.