Voluntary Action Center’s 39th annual Christmas gift drive and distribution recently had a ribbon-cutting to support this year’s donation success that accounted for about $300,000 in gifts, groceries, hygiene products, and other goods for 3,000 families in Columbia and Boone County.
Liberty Family Medicine has been adopting families through the VAC holiday gift drive for several years now. The Liberty team works together to adopt two families, looking for families with four to five members.
Community is at the heart of our business of providing direct primary care (DPC) to our patients, and VAC is just one of the local nonprofits we support. We also support Welcome Home, The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, and Barnie's Place, among others. Dr. Gruender has invested time and resources into building relationships with these amazing organizations.
After all, it’s important to us that the community supports us and trusts us with their medical care. We are careful to be sure that we are returning that support in a meaningful, tangible way, and not just talking about it. The VAC gift drive is just one way to turn our words into actions.
We know that our team at Liberty is very fortunate and that financial stress can create challenging needs for our community, especially this time of year. We know that a medical issue or an employment-related issue can create additional financial strain for those who aren’t as fortunate.
Our patients might not be aware that Dr. Gruender is on the VAC board of directors and Jason Gruender is a board member at Welcome Home. Our team members also participate in a variety of volunteer and supportive roles throughout the community.
We’re also proud to help tell VAC’s story and to spread the news that if a family that signs up for holiday gift and meal support doesn’t get a sponsor, VAC will write them a check for those expenses. It’s also vital to point out that VAC’s programs aren’t limited to the holiday season.
In addition to the holiday gift drive, VAC has a summer fan program, rental assistance program, lunch in the park, and a back-to-school health fair. VAC is dedicated to helping our neighbors who are experiencing hardship to bridge the gap between crisis and stability and improve the quality of life in Boone County.
Volunteers and VAC staff members were on hand Monday, Dec. 5, to unload donations from vehicles and arrange the gifts in the Christian Life Center gym at Broadway Christian Church in Columbia. A ribbon cutting on Dec. 8 kicked off the gift distribution portion of the program.
“A big thank you to our sponsors and donors for making this possible,” said Ed Stansberry, VAC’s executive director. “Happy holidays.”
Liberty Family Medicine’s involvement in sponsoring families through VAC is a natural extension of our focus on the physician-patient relationship — the way family medicine was meant to be practiced. And it’s the way communities support those who need our help.