COMO Gives

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COLUMBIA - CoMo Gives allows people to donate to up to 92 mid-Missouri nonprofit organizations.

Centro Latino is one of those organizations, and donations from CoMo Gives have become an important part of how it operates. Programs coordinator Nicole Crespi said its mission is to serve the Latino immigrant population.

"We started to serve the immigrant population who are arriving here in Columbia and are not used to this system. There's a lot that you have to do when you first arrive: find a house, find work, if you have kids, get them enrolled," Crespi said.

Centro Latino offers health and education resources for families as well as interpreting and translation services. 

"The whole point behind Centro Latino is to ease the disparities between people who have learned English as a second language compared to people who haven't, and so it's just we're doing this so we can bridge the gap between Latinos going on to higher education and those who don't," administrative coordinator Stazi Prost said. 

Centro Latino runs entirely on donations and grants, making CoMo Gives an important part of its fund raising throughout the year.

"I know there are a lot of organizations that already have that worked in but they have maybe paid employees or volunteers year round who focus on fund raising, but we don't have paid employees. We're all volunteer run and so CoMo Gives, it's great that they have it organized already," Crespi said. 

Crespi said the organization holds fund raiser dinners and other events throughout the year, but none with the same impact as CoMo Gives. She said last year it received around $3,000.

"There's a lot that goes into the behind the scenes just running the place. We have to buy toilet paper, we have to buy insurance to make sure that everyone is safe, and so it's nice to know that those will definitely be covered at least for the first few months. It puts us a little bit more at ease," Crespi said.

Halfway through the giving month, Centro Latino was up to over $2,000 on the CoMo Gives website.

"We'll be able to cover at least the first few months of 2017 in terms of the location, and then maybe getting new supplies if we need anything, but mostly it's just to keep the building open so that our programs can run inside it," Crespi said.

To donate to Centro Latino or any of the other 91 nonprofits participating in the campaign, visit the CoMo Gives website.