One non-profit is warming up Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Columbia’s Voluntary Action Center is hosting Warm Up Columbia. The one-day event will be held Saturday at The Armory, located at 701 East Ash Street, from 8:30 a.m. until noon. The event will help low-income individuals and families in Columbia stay warm by giving away free clothing items.

"The public can show up we do not have any requirements or documentation that you need to bring. We just are allowing the public to come and get free warm winter items to keep them warm this winter and that does includes coats jackets, blankets, scarves, gloves and mittens," Voluntary Action Center social service specialist, Carissa Rounkles said. 

Sponsors of the event such as; D&H Drugstore, Columbia Parks and Recreation and United Way have been collecting donations of clothes since the beginning of July. The Voluntary Action Center has more than 4,500 donated items that will be given out at the event. All individuals who wish to receive clothing items must be present at the distribution. All items will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.

"Warm Up Columbia is just one of those things I feel are really special. People who don't have coats, hats, or scarves to keep warm in the winter, really do come by the distribution and it's just heart-warming to see those people be able to get clothes for the winter," marketing director of D&H Drugstore, Jenny Brooks said.

VAC has been a vital resource for Columbia citizens whose incomes are lower than the designated Missouri poverty level for over 40 years. VAC offers services to individuals primarily in areas of health, employment, education, and housing. VAC also has approximately 130 “helping hands” partners who contribute in different ways such as; Meals on Wheels, Columbia Public Schools and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Missouri.

 "So the clients who we provide services to do need to meet out eligibility of being at 200% of the federal poverty guideline or below. As long as they meet that guideline we can provide services," Rounkles said.