Joe Machens Toyota is committed to giving back to our community. Mid-Missouri is home to our employees and customers and we want to support worthy causes and groups in our own community as much as they support us each and every day. So for one year we are focusing on doing good in Columbia and around Mid-Missouri by making donations and volunteering for organizations that are close to our hearts. Click on the links below to view our monthly endeavors in the community!
We started in December 2017 with our first project, a $5,000 check donation to Welcome Home- a community for veterans. On December 28, 2017 we went to Welcome Home and took a tour of this remarkable facility here in Columbia. Megan Sievers the Director of Development at Welcome Home gave us background history of the organization and took us around their new building. Welcome Home is a multi-faceted organization devoted to combating veteran homelessness in Missouri. They provide transitional shelter and housing, hot meals, and a work readiness program to help people get back on their feet.
Welcome Home was started in 1992 by four Vietnam veterans who knew there needed to be a change in our community after one of their brothers died in the streets of Columbia after a cold winter night. They knew that veterans who spent their time protecting our country shouldn’t have to come back to homelessness. So these four men pooled all of their money and bought an old hotel that used to sit at the corner of Rangeline and Business Loop. The old Welcome Home facility had only 2,500 square feet and limited capacity for residents, the new facility has 30,000 square feet and has 32 rooms with 38 beds, to better serve the need in our area.
The majority of referrals for Welcome Home come from Truman VA Hospital right here in Columbia. Many of the residents are not from the area, but come here for treatment at the VA. There are 2 different phases at Welcome Home, Phase One is a traditional emergency shelter, people can come here for help if they need it in a bind. Phase Two is independent living at Patriot Place, the apartments next to Welcome Home. Patriot Place is managed by Columbia Housing Authority, where the two organizations work together to find the best housing for veterans transitioning out of the shelter. The time between moving in to Welcome Home and transitioning out to independent living is typically around 90 days.
The new facility is very comfortable, and Sievers noted they wanted to make it feel like home. Dave Griggs- Flooring America and Jennifer Bertrand from HGTV’s Design Star went to great lengths to make sure this place felt like home for those who truly need it.
“The staff gives 110% to make this successful”, says Sievers, “We make sure every veteran feels happy, grateful, and cared for, even in this time in their lives when they are homeless”. All of us at Joe Machens Toyota feel like Welcome Home is doing a world of good in our community, we couldn’t think of better organization to start off our year of giving.
Joe Machens Toyota is on a year-long journey to bring our community closer through a giving campaign called Joe Machens Toyota Gives Back. And when is a better time to start giving than during the holiday season? For the month of December, Joe Machens Toyota devoted time and resources to making spirits bright for those who may not normally have a merry Christmas. You all know we donated $5,000 to Welcome Home, an amazing organization battling veteran homelessness right here in Columbia, Missouri, so what’s next? We wanted to give active servicemen and women a gift even if they weren’t home for the holidays. With a little help from our friends, we sent 48 boxes and envelopes to people all over the world serving in the armed forces who would normally call Mid-Missouri their home for the holidays.
We heard through the grapevine that Clear 99 had a group of hometown soldiers who could use some extra love this time of year so we got their names, addresses, and wish lists and set out to make a difference this holiday season. We had men and women stationed all over the world from Kuwait to Afghanistan to Qatar to Japan to Germany and even a little closer to home like Hawaii, California, and North Carolina. Many of these people just wanted letters and cards, but others asked for snacks or health and wellness products, and even a few things that reminded them of home.
Sounds like it was time to go shopping! We went out and bought plenty of snacks to keep them going, things like Clif Bars, Slim Jims, gum, candy, protein bars, trail mix, and nuts. We got personal care items such as deodorant, soap, and Carmex and even a few fun things like playing cards, iTunes gift cards, and Amazon gift cards. This time of year is all about friends and family, we recognized this so we included a $25 long distance calling card so these brave men and women can reach out to their loved ones over the holidays. As well as a few comforts of home like a new Nike Dri-fit shirt donated by Mizzou Athletics, as well as few packs of Backer’s potato chips to remind them of home.
On December 29th, we set up an assembly line in our showroom and filled up Joe Machens Toyota bags with all of their new goodies. We had members from every department represent including sales, service, and administration. It was great to all come together to give back during this holiday season. We included a note in our packages for our new friends all over the world to send us photos so we can see them with their swag, we are anxiously awaiting those photos to come rolling in. Check our Facebook page to find these photos soon!
January 2018- True North
The third stop on our year-long journey to help better the community around us is True North. True North is a women’s shelter and resource center for those who find themselves in a domestic or sexual violence situation. We sat down with Elizabeth Herrera, the Executive director of True North here in Columbia and she gave us the true facts about True North.
Elizabeth explained to us that True North is more than just a shelter, it is a place that offers empowerment, self-sufficiency training, and helps people find their voice. In 2017, True North helped 875 women in our community through either residential or non-residential outreach. The non-residential facility offers a team of full-time counselors who help provide domestic violence education and support, as well as a sexual violence victim advocate who can go on hospital calls and provide emotional support.
A strong relationship with the Columbia Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department helps True North reach victims early and helps to communicate what services are available to them.
Increased funding from the government in the past year has been instrumental in helping True North gain momentum in Columbia. Government funding can only go towards specific programs so community support is still necessary to keep going. Things like soap, trash bags, bed linens, etc., are still needed from general donations.
The shelter, which is being transformed through support from local businesses, is at an undisclosed location to help keep the women and children who live there safe from their abusers. The shelter offers a 24/7 hotline to help women whenever they need it, a full-time counselor, two full-time case managers, a housing advocate, and children’s programs. The housing advocate works to help women find somewhere to live that is not just affordable, but safe. Keeping women safe is their number one priority. Herrera explained that it is important for True North to show women what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like because a lot of them have never seen a good example of that.
The shelter is home to a number of programs such as group therapy sessions, alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous, and the love and logic program to help teach moms better discipline strategies for their children.
Joe Machens Toyota made a $5000 donation to True North this month, our donation will help provide them with two important pieces to the shelter; a new server and a remodeled serenity room. An upgraded server will help to keep personal data secure when women come into the shelter, an important part of keeping these women safe is keeping their personal information safe from hackers. The second part of the donation is going towards revamping a serenity room for the women to use. The serenity room will be used for those group meetings and sessions mentioned above, as well as yoga, mindfulness, a place for self-reflection, and self-love.
February 2018- Job Point
As we continue on our year-long journey helping organizations in the community, Joe Machens Toyota strives to find worthy groups we believe in and support. In February, we chose to work with a group creating real change in our community. Job Point is Missouri’s premier employment and community development center. On February 15, 2018, we attended the yearly Awards of Excellence Banquet. This event recognizes Job Point’s rising stars.
Job Point was established right here in Columbia in 1965. Since then, their mission has been the same: to train and educate people looking for valuable employment. Job Point offers certification courses, training, and opportunities for people who may not normally have access to these resources – people with mental or physical disabilities, people with educational or economic obstacles, and people who may have served time in jail. Many employers may overlook these job candidates, but Job Point trains, educates and supports them as they find meaningful employment. The core values of Job Point are integrity, a collaborative spirit, and excellence in customer service. They work to instill these values in their clients every day.
The annual Awards of Excellence banquet is hosted to highlight the people whose contributions make Job Point a proud organization. This year the awards recognized Timothy Archer, Kevin Smith, Carrie Brown, Samantha Christensen, Arris’ Pizza, and The Bluffs. Archer and Smith were recognized for completing their respective training programs and finding work after completion. Carrie Brown was recognized as Employee of the Year for her dedication and service to others through Job Point’s YouthBuild program. Samantha Christensen was recognized as Volunteer of the Year after she completed her college internship with Job Point. Arris’ Pizza was honored as Employer of the Year for supporting individuals who have completed programs through Job Point. The Bluffs was recognized as Partner of the Year for sponsoring participants in their Certified Nursing Assistant classes.
Our very own Stacey Cole made a speech at the event. She explained why Joe Machens Toyota is committed to working with organizations like Job Point. As a sponsor, Joe Machens Toyota donated $5,000 toward the Awards of Excellence banquet. Brenda Overkamp, director of marketing and research at Job Point, explained that the money Joe Machens Toyota donated will go toward operating funds for the organization. These general funds help support training and employment services.
To get involved with this groundbreaking organization, you can firstname.lastname@example.org, call (573) 474-8560, visit their website at http://www.jobpointmo.com, or visit their office on Wilkes Boulevard. Brenda Overkamp explained that volunteers are needed to tutor or help job applicants fill out online job applications.