Columbia shop teaming up with local organizations for a cause

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COLUMBIA – A nonprofit organization in downtown Columbia is partnering with other area organizations this month to spread awareness for different causes.

Route is a nonprofit organization on Ninth Street that “alleviates poverty by selling ethically produced goods and educates the community on the impact of employment and empowerment,” according to its website.

Through the month of December, Route is hosting a number of events called “Parties with a Purpose,” which aim to help raise money for different organizations around Columbia through the CoMo Gives campaign.

"We're focusing on other non-profits that align with our mission, which is to support people out of poverty around the world through employment," said Route's Executive Director Richmond Wheeler.

Tuesday’s partner is the Heart of Missouri CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, which is an organization that works with foster children in the court system who have been abused or neglected in the home.

“We are always looking for places in the community where we can do outreach with other agencies so we can get awareness out there because a lot of people don’t know what CASA is all about,” said Boone County Program Director Sara Echternach.

Echternach said CASA volunteers serve as the voice for the child and the eyes and ears of the court. Currently, the organization serves 25 percent of the children in need, and Echternach said the organization hopes to gain more volunteers through the partnership event with Route.

"They're working with children that are the most vulnerable and a lot of what the products that we sell are about is 'Who are the most vulnerable people?' and 'How can we support the most vulnerable people?'" Wheeler said. "They're advocating for children in the foster care system to give them the best outcomes to adulthood, and I think that's a perfect fit for the kind of community outreach that we're doing to educate people about those concerns."

Other organizations that have teamed up with Route include Centro Latino, For His Glory and True North. Typically 10 percent of purchases at Route during the fundraising period go back to the organizations through CoMo Gives.

Route will host “Parties with a Purpose” every Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. through the end of December.

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