The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri

Lindsay Young Lopez, President and CEO

The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri is located in Columbia, but serves 32 counties in the state. The wide service area allows it to serve more than 100,000 people every month, according to Lindsay Young Lopez, the president and CEO of The Food Bank.

Young Lopez said The Food Bank is able to take $1 and purchase $21 worth of groceries, thanks to the different resources it has access to in the community. The Food Bank’s 63-person staff helps keep the organization running, but community volunteers are crucial to its success.

“For anybody who thinks that that 2-hour block of time that they spend repackaging food in The Food Bank or helping at an event, if they think that that’s not important, I promise them that it really, really is. It all makes such a big difference,” Young Lopez said.

Voluntary Action Center

Nick Foster, Executive Director

Voluntary Action Center aims to help Columbia residents with social services, primarily within the health, education, employment and housing sectors. Executive Director Nick Foster estimates that the eight VAC employees will help over 8,000 people this year.

The organization, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, works alongside other nonprofits to get people the resources they need.

“One of my favorite things about what we do is that what we do enhances the work that others in our community do,” Foster said.

VAC is able to help Columbia residents with a variety of things, like getting a bus pass or paying a copay on a hospital bill. Foster said the goal of VAC is to “bridge the gap between crisis and community and to improve the quality of life for everyone in Boone County.”

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