The true wealth of Columbia is found in its philanthropic spirit. It seems that in every moment, someone in Columbia is in fact working to make the world a better place. From escorting our veterans to see war memorials in Washington, D.C., supplying families in need or raising funds to pay off health care bills, Columbians do so with an open heart.
There are countless non-profit and volunteer-staffed organizations that work long hours to enrich the lives of those inside and outside Columbia. Here are just a few ways Columbia is reaching out to those in our community:
In an admirable gesture of patriotism and utmost respect, the Central Missouri Honor Flight sends U.S. military veterans on a pre-paid flight to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. Since the inaugural flight in 2009, the non-profit volunteer-based organization has carried over 2,800 veterans on 46 flights. Priority is given to those who served in WWII and veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars who are terminally ill.
First Impressions provides clothing for job interviews to those who are not able to afford to purchase their own. This gesture of kindness and respect gives many Columbia residents the confidence to take the first step in the next chapter of their lives.
Refugee and Immigration Services and City of Refuge
Refugee and Immigration Services, a department of Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, is the official refugee resettlement agency in Columbia. This non-profit helps refugees take the first steps in the transition to life in America. They are provided with housing, career counseling, English tutoring and more for up to three months. City of Refuge is another non-profit organization that helps refugees with everyday needs after the services of Refugee and Immigration Services have expired.
Mobility Worldwide (formerly the PET project)
Mobility Worldwide provides people with disabilities who live in underdeveloped countries — many times in the most remote of places in the world — with personal energy transportation carts (PET) carts to help them achieve the greatest level of mobility possible. The non-profit organization is volunteer run and faith based. Since its beginning in 1994 by Reverend Mel West, 60,000 PET carts have helped change lives in more than 90 countries.