COLUMBIA - MERS Missouri Goodwill is doing more than usual to help homeless shelters during the pandemic.
The Metropolitan Employment Rehabilitation Services (MERS) Missouri organization donated $75,000 in vouchers to 29 homeless shelters in Missouri, including four in Columbia.
The Presbyterian Children's Transitional Housing for Boys and Girls Columbia, Welcome Home Inc., True North Emergency Shelter, and Rainbow House will all receive donations in the form of Goodwill vouchers.
Welcome Home Inc. Donor Relations Specialist Leah Patrick said that the voucher donations are a great opportunity for the Veterans shelter.
"It really does make a difference," she said. "We are more than just a homeless shelter, we honor our nation’s Veterans and restore their lives."
Each voucher is worth $20 and can be redeemed for anything that is available at any Goodwill store.
Dave Kutchback, CEO and President of MERS Goodwill, said the organization's mission to help those in need is at an even higher demand than usual because of the pandemic.
"We've had a voucher program for a number of years," he said. "But during this pandemic, there's been so many individuals that have been affected, homeless individuals more significantly than others."
Kutchback has worked for MERS Goodwill for 40 years and headed the organization for six. He said while their main interest is to help people find employment, the homeless community will always need extra help.
"We wanted to be apart of the solution," Kutchback said. "Shelters can sometimes struggle to get [winter] items... we've been very grateful for all the donations we received and we wanted to give back to those individuals most in need."