COLUMBIA – It’s been a long time coming for Columbia’s City of Refuge to provide bus transportation for the families that are part of their non-profit organization. On Tuesday, Missouri United Methodist Church donated a bus to the City of Refuge.
The non-profit provides after-school tutoring for refugee kids on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Executive Director Garrett Pearson says there has been an increased need in tutoring and school transportation since the pandemic started.
“The pandemic has made going to school way more difficult,” Pearson said. “Our program has been maxed out with people needing to come to our building or to be taken home, so this bus removes that obstacle so that family and kids can receive support.”
Pearson says City of Refuge is grateful for the relationship they’ve built with United Methodist Church. He also says it’s encouraging to see people want to support local non-profit and local families.
Volunteers of City of Refuge have made several trips in their personal vehicles to provide transportation to refugee families in the community to get the resources they need. Pearson believes this bus will allow them to be able to serve a larger quantity.
“This will not only save time, but allow us to get kids who are further out, who previously didn’t have the opportunity to come to our building to receive services and support,” Pearson said.
Columbia’s City of Refuge currently helps 600 individuals, and 50 are a part of its tutoring program.
Pearson says the homework helper program only runs during the school year, but they want to expand by offering field trips during the summer.
Pearson also mentioned how the team is planning on taking families to different grocery stores and having a healthy cooking night this summer.
City of Refuge has open door meetings on Mondays and Fridays, where people can come in with questions and the staff will provide help and resources.
Pearson says they are hoping to start providing transportation with their new bus as soon as possible.
He also mentioned with the high demand for tutoring, they are looking to provide tutoring on Tuesdays as well.