Toy drive, other efforts, help Columbia non-profit give all year round
COLUMBIA - Almeta Crayton Community Programs is giving back to the community in more ways than one. Thursday and Friday, the program is giving away toys to families in the community at the Armory Sports Center located on 701 E. Ash Street.
Over the course of a few weeks the program collected money as well as toys to give to children and families. The donations allowed to the company to buy $2,400 worth of toys that will impact roughly 300 children in the Columbia area.
"We had the toy program going on for a while and we had a short fall one year and Ms. Crayton said, 'Well maybe we could get some people to donate toys.' So we had Everybody Eats program and she said why don't we have Everybody Eats and Santa Greets," said Columbia Parks and Recreation specialist Bill Thompson.
The giving does not stop there. Almeta Crayton Community Programs donated more than 800 pounds of food to the Central Missouri Food Bank on Wednesday.
"I was thrilled to see that Almeta's legacy continues because she has done such great work in this community, and we're just grateful that they thought enough to come over and to donate some food to us so that we can continue to feed people that are hungry in our community," said Food Bank Associate Director Bobbie Kincade.
The program was named after Almeta Crayton, a community activist and Columbia's first black councilwoman. Almeta, who served in the First Ward from 1999 to 2008, was known for giving back to the community and the program has been carrying on her legacy.
In November, the program celebrated its 19th annual Everybody Eats campaign and served more than 300 people for Thanksgiving. Citizens of Columbia and other non-profits donated money canned goods and other food to provide meals for families.
"I just want people to realize that this program is an ongoing program and we do try and make sure everyone is valid that receives this. We work along with other agencies to make sure that this program is meeting the needs of the people who are really in need of this program. Basically we target the people here in the Columbia area and make this a special service for the citizens of Columbia," Thompson said.