One of the first questions we typically get at the beginning of the ForColumbia season is, “Where will I be serving?” With so many sites to choose from, people want to know if they’ll be serving the City, in our schools, or at one of many nonprofits.

Over the next three blog posts, we’re going to break down how and why we choose serving sites. We’ll also cover why it’s so important for us to stick to our mission: “Serving Columbia, side by side.”

Let’s read what Matt Copeland, C2 Church, has to say about ForColumbia’s involvement with the nonprofit sector in Columbia.

Why do we serve and help nonprofits?

Nonprofit organizations are one of the three main areas that ForColumbia chooses to serve every year.

But why? The whole reason a nonprofit organization exists is to better the community around them without – you guessed it – turning a profit. Likewise, we believe as Christians that we are to love and serve our community, no strings attached. As a result, those two purposes, loving and serving, offer a built-in connection to those involved.

As Christians, we want to be the biggest advocate for wanting to better the community around us as a way of being a good steward of the things God has given us. By joining together to strengthen our nonprofits, we truly help our community as a whole. These organizations know the specific area they serve extremely well. When we are able to come together and help their organization run more smoothly, we make an even bigger impact on our community.

ForColumbia takes the opportunity each year to come alongside nonprofits in meeting the needs they have. As we help them on April 30th, they can help more people throughout the year. As most people know, time is the most valuable resource. We have hundreds of volunteers willing to give their time en masse to these great organizations. Whether it’s freshening paint in a resource clinic to help a guest feel warmly invited, helping to organize donated items so they can get to the hands of people that need them, or putting in the hard work to expand parking so more people can attend training, ForColumbia can put in the work to allow these organizations to stay focused on their purpose and mission.

How do these organizations help our city?

One of the great things about the City of Columbia is the way small businesses, large corporations, and nonprofits interact with each other.

Nonprofit organizations often run off of grants and donations. This enables them to invest directly into the lives of individuals and families. Some provide services that take an hour and others walk alongside folks for years of their life.

Because funds are often raised or given, overhead costs need to remain low. Therefore, the need for volunteers willing to devote their time is most valuable.

ForColumbia volunteers get a snapshot view of how these organizations work and who they help one day out of the year. We have heard from many volunteers that they and/or their families choose to continue to support their ForColumbia serving site throughout the year because of the impact that one day of service had.

From organizations like Coyote Hill Foster Services and Boys and Girls Club serving our kids and youth to organizations like Loaves and Fishes and Voluntary Action Center serving those currently between housing, Columbia has many different organizations actively making a difference in the lives of Columbians.

Just last week, I had the chance to meet with folks from In2Action and United Community Builders. We assessed how we might help them during ForColumbia 2022. I invite you to periodically check to see what’s in store for us on April 30th.

What are we doing for nonprofits?

We are working with so many great nonprofits this year. We’ll do things from freshening paint to keep buildings inviting, to clearing brush to make space more usable. We’ll do some light repair work to keep those who enter safe and comfortable.

Any nonprofit team spends most of its time caring for people. As a result, the spaces in which they operate are often in need of a good deep-clean and some TLC. That’s where ForColumbia comes in.

We always enjoy doing outside work to take advantage of the good weather and get people outside serving side by side! We are especially excited this year to work with the ROC (Reentry Opportunity Center). ROC is working with those returning from the judicial system.

If you know of a nonprofit organization that could use our help on April 30th, check our Sites page. If they are not listed there, feel free to reach out to us. We are always looking for new people with whom to connect.