Springfield, Missouri is the third largest city in the state. Nicknamed the “Queen City of the Ozarks,” the beautiful location is best known as the birthplace of Route 66. It’s vibrant culture, engaging landscapes and educational institutions come together to form the unique heartbeat that helps the city thrive. But there’s another side to Springfield that is also drawing a lot of attention. For the last few years, Springfield has seen 25% of its population fall into poverty. That’s why one non-profit has returned to the city year after year to offer hope to struggling families in incredibly caring ways.
Convoy of Hope is a Missouri-based nonprofit that provides disaster relief and organizes events to alleviate poverty and hunger. The faith-driven organization staffs the event through a collaboration of more than 60 local churches. Veronica Garcia is one of the event organizers who has seen the impact the event has had over the years. “We may not be able to solve all of their problems,” she shared with a local news station, “but we can offer them a hug, words of encouragement, a free meal. And that truly can make a difference.”
And that’s what has happened in Springfield year after year. The event has embodied the charity’s mission statement, which proclaims that “Hope Starts Here.” More than 2,500 volunteers come together from different denominations, cultures, and walks of life to serve the individuals and families that come to the free event. Over 10,000 people suffering in poverty are given the opportunity to receive vital services like free health and dental screenings and basic immunizations. But the event focuses on other dignity-based services as well. Individuals are offered free haircuts, and families can have their portraits taken so they’ll have a family photo to take home. Bags of groceries and a hot meal are also provided.
Veronica sums up their efforts quite nicely. “Above everything else, we want to offer people hope,” she said in one interview. We want them to know that even if their life is in crisis, there are people who care about them and want to help.” The 2017 community event will be held on August 19 and will start at 10:00 AM. To learn more about Convoy of Hope and their work both nationally and internationally, or to find out where you can volunteer, visit their website at convoyofhope.org.