How many children do you serve?

Over 700 daily, ages 6 weeks to 18 years.

Are their parents working?

Yes. To qualify for state-subsidized child care, the parents must be working or attending school. Operation Breakthrough enrolls children whose parents are not working when there is concern that the children will not have food or might be unsupervised if they are at home. The state does not pay for those children's care.

Do you have any open child care slots?

We fill our enrollment every school year. You can contact our enrollment coordinator for more information at 816-329-5227.

Are all the families low-income?

More than 87% of the enrolled families live below federal poverty guidelines, most far below them. Most are headed by single women in low paying jobs. 70% of our families earn less than $12,000 annually.  About 20% of the children are homeless or near homeless. 

Are your staff members volunteers?

No. Operation Breakthrough has 202 employees, many of whom live in the surrounding neighborhoods. All the classroom teachers go through extensive training in early childhood care and education and are working toward or have earned bachelors degrees. The Center does, however, welcome volunteers and offers a variety of options, ranging from holding babies, to reading to preschoolers, to tutoring school-age children, to clerical work and special projects.

How can I apply for employment at Operation Breakthrough?

You can send a letter of interest and your resume to Human Resources, Operation Breakthrough, 3039 Troost Ave., Kansas City MO 64109 or check our current job openings.

Where does your funding come from?

Approximately 45% comes from government sources - city, state and federal. Grants from foundations and corporate and individual donations make up the rest. Without private support, Operation Breakthrough would be unable to offer its many social service programs, such as play therapy, dental and medical care and parenting education.

Is Operation Breakthrough affiliated with or supported financially by the Catholic church?

No. Operation Breakthrough has no religious affiliation. Individual churches and temples throughout the community support Operation Breakthrough, however, with gifts of volunteer time, goods or funding.

How old is Operation Breakthrough?

Operation Breakthrough began in 1971 when a group of working-poor parents in the central city voiced their need for child care to Sister Corita Bussanmas and Sister Berta Sailer. Together, they incorporated Operation Breakthrough as a not-for-profit agency. The center has been located at 31st and Troost, in a former JC Penney store, since 1981.

Do you have a wish list of items the center can use?

Yes we do. The list can be found here.

What if I want to have a fundraiser for Operation Breakthrough?

Please email Helen Krause at to learn more about having your own fundraiser or donation drive for Operation Breakthrough. 

Do I need to call ahead when delivering donated items to Operation Breakthrough?

No, you do not need to call prior to dropping new and gently used items for our children and families at the Center. Donated goods are accepted between 9 a.m. - Noon and between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday ONLY at the back dock on Harrison St., just north of 31st St.  Please do not drop items at the front desk and DO NOT leave items on the dock after 5 p.m. or weekends.

Can you come to my home and pick up furniture or appliances that I want to donate?

We ask that you please not drop off any large items at the center. If you would like to donate larger items such as appliances or furniture, please call 816-329-5205 and let them know you would like to speak with someone about pickup or delivery of items.

Can my child fulfill community service requirements by volunteering at Operation Breakthrough?

Yes. Licensing now requires that volunteers must be at least 18 years of age to volunteer with our children. However, we have other projects around the Center that are great for younger volunteers. For further information please see our Volunteer page on our website or email Kelly Phelps, our Volunteer Coordinator, will get back to you. 

How can I help?

Please call Jennifer Heinemann at 816-365-5059 to schedule. You are also able to volunteer to rock babies, solicit items for our annual silent auction, enter data in the computer or become a mentor for a child who needs a friend. Please see our Volunteer page for more information.

You can donate used children's clothing, furniture and household items. You can collect items for our food pantry, such as peanut butter, hearty soups, cereal, toiletries or disposable diapers. You can make a monetary donation in honor of a friend's birthday or in memory of a loved one. You can make us aware of opportunities to receive financial support for the children through your company, faith community or civic group. And much more! Every contribution of time, goods or funds makes a difference for our children.