Columbia Missourians hours of service

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COLUMBIA- Volunteer hours for the City of Columbia are down from last year.

In Columbia, volunteers served 39,204 hours in 2018, according to a report from the Office of Neighborhood Services.

Volunteers service was valued at about $968,000, meaning the city was able to save money by delegating particular tasks to volunteers rather than staff.

In 2017, volunteers served a total of 42,251 hours, which valued greater than $1,000,000.

“It [volunteering] helps with the stewardship of our dollars. I mean people are giving a lot of their time and that’s when we can be engaged in the community with volunteers, and staff people, we aren’t having to pay staff people to do some of those roles,” said Jody Cook, City of Columbia Volunteer Programs Specialist.

People volunteered in 10 different city programs including Parks and Rec, which logged over 18,000 hours. This made up the largest percentage of the total number of hours for the year.

Cook says there are different factors that can cause the numbers to fluctuate.

“The factors could just be people’s interest, very often the economy can be a factor,” she said.

In Columbia, weather can also be a big factor because special volunteer events tend to be outdoors, like Clean Up Columbia, that can cause a drop in hours, according to Cook.

According to the Office of Neighborhood Services, “Volunteer service to the City fluctuates from year to year due to staff changes, department priorities and volunteer preferences.”

“There’s just a lot of opportunities to give in this community of your time and service and I guarantee that anybody that volunteers will get something more out of it than they give,” Cook said.