COLUMBIA — Former First Ward councilwoman Almeta Crayton has spent most of her time in Columbia helping others out. Now that treatment for her kidney disease has slowed her down, friends and community members are being called on to return the favor.
A benefit for Crayton is set to take place from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday at Boone Tavern, 811 E. Walnut St., to raise money to help her make ends meet.
Crayton said she currently spends three and a half hours of three days each week in dialysis and her energy "changes day to day," making it harder for her to keep up with all of her volunteer work.
Because of her volunteer work, she doesn't qualify for unemployment, and, at 51, she isn't old enough to qualify for any senior programs. Although her medical insurance and disability payments cover her medical costs, she needs help covering her gas and electricity bills and buying groceries.
Crayton has a long list of public-service roles in Columbia, serving three terms as First Ward councilwoman and organizing Everybody Eats!, a Thanksgiving program that provides groceries to families who don't have enough money to purchase food for the holiday.
One of the volunteers for Everybody Eats!, DJ Curtis "Boogeyman" Soul, has known Crayton for 25 years, and he's been helping her with her programs for 15 years.
"She's been there for veterans. ... She's been there for Thanksgiving," Soul said. "We just want to get a whole bunch of people to come by."