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Volunteering with VITA Makes Cents

The Cooperative Ministry’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to families with a household income of less than $54,000.

You don’t have to be a mathematical whiz, or a computer genius to become a VITA volunteer.  The Cooperative Ministry will provide you with the training you’ll need to have a rewarding experience, as you work one on one with people in our community.     VITA1photo

Free income tax preparation is available to ensure hardworking families take advantage of all Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, leading to larger refunds and nearly immediate extra cash. “Financing your Future” Director Kara Simmons  says with the help of  wonderful  volunteers  the most recent VITA program was a huge success, with clients receiving an average refund of $1,322.08. For many of the people The Cooperative Ministry serves, that money can mean the difference between staying in a home and homelessness.

Become a VITA Volunteer:

• No accounting experience required

• Free IRS training & certification

• Flexible volunteer schedule

• Multiple volunteer locations available

For more information on how you can become a VITA volunteer, contact Latanya Grant at 803-799-3853 x605

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Shelter From The Storm

Rivers of water raging down city streets; the streets where we shop, the streets where we work, the streets where we live in the community we love – those images were just too much.manth

So many of our friends and neighbors left without power, without water, without a home.

Many seeking shelter from a storm of emotions that rose out  of the 1000 year flood did the only thing they could think of – they helped. Many of them came to The Cooperative Ministry.

Over the days ahead, people showed up in droves to drop off donations and to volunteer their time and services in a variety of ways.

From the Basoonist who plays in the SC Philharmonic who returned to our clothing closet day after day to help sort through donated items – to the grandmother who brought her 9 year old granddaughter to The Cooperative Ministry to give her a lesson in giving, it happened. Something incredible was born out of the tragic floods.LondonIMG_2695

For the countless people who have touched our organization, thank you for supporting our mission. Due to your amazing generosity during this time,  The Cooperative Ministry is serving more people than ever. We have been able to supply flood victims with clothing, food and toiletries – but we also want to help them get back into their homes and help them as they work to get power restored and get life back to normal.

TCM delivers goods to Sandlapper Elementary to help displaced families.

TCM delivers goods to Sandlapper Elementary to help displaced families.

 

Any monetary donations you can supply would be truly appreciated. To donate to the Ministry, head to our website www.coopmin.org and click the “donate” button on the top right hand side of the page. You can call us at 803-799-3853 or send your check to: The Cooperative Ministry, 3821 West Beltline Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29204.

 

 

 

 

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Help Kids in Local Shelters this Holiday Season

Families in Shelters are saving every dollar possible to move into a more stable home environment. Often there is no extra money available for a luxury like exchanging gifts during the holidays. Each year “Circle of Giving” gives children in area shelters the opportunity to experience some holiday cheer.GREAT hand shotphoto

Once again The Cooperative Ministry is teaming up with Eastminster Presbyterian Church for this wonderful event.

In December, volunteers will drive church buses to area shelters to pick up the children. The kids are taken to the church campus for a party. There, they do arts and crafts, eat yummy treats, dance to festive tunes and wrap gifts that have been donated to give to their immediate family members. The goal is for these children to forget about the struggles of their daily lives for a few minutes and just be kids.

In recent years, Eastminster members have donated unwrapped gifts, wrapping paper and bows, treats and monetary donations for the event.  Volunteers serve as “guides” for the children as they shop.lilgirlphoto

If you ask people who’ve taken part, they will tell you that “Circle of Giving” is a life- changing experience.

Let’s make this year’s event the best one yet. Please consider giving gifts, wrapping paper, or monetary donations so we can shop for local children who are growing up in some very difficult circumstances.

For more information contact www.kmeador@coopmin.org

lil boyphotoHere’s a list of things we could use….

Gifts should be in the $10 range, unwrapped and non-perishable.
(if gifts need batteries please include them)
O-3
Baby dolls, cars, trucks, balls, stuffed animals and talking toys
4-6
Race cars, Hot Wheels, simple board games, art & crafts, puzzles
7-9
“Polly pocket” games, cars, trucks, board games, footballs, basketballs.
10-12
Nerf Frisbees and other items, footballs, basketballs, jackets
Funky pocketbooks & tote bags
Teens
Make-up kits, nail polish kits, bath gel/bubble bath kits, purses, necklaces, earrings
Footballs, basketballs, collegiate items (Clemson or Carolina), sports watches, radios with batteries
Men
Watches, aftershave and toiletry kits (deodorant, spray, body wash), wallets/billfolds, baseball caps
Women
Make up kits, nail polish (manicure/pedicure) kits, bath gel/lotion kits, perfume, purses, necklaces, earrings and jewelry sets, watches

Items that are discouraged:
Toy weapons; clothing, shoes etc. because the children don’t know sizes; slippers & work gloves because the children do not select them as gifts; breakable items (vases, mirrors, bowels); items that are too small/ insignificant to be a gift on their own (happy meal toys etc.)

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Second Floor Office Space for Rent

The Cooperative Ministry has approximately 5,000 square feet of 2nd floor office space for lease to non-profit organizations.

The Cooperative Ministry is located at 3821 W. Beltline Boulevard, Columbia, S.C., which is an ideal location only 3 miles from downtown Columbia.  Please note that the space must be built out to the lessor’s specifications.

You may contact Ms. Akili Harris, CFO, at 799-2506 or aharris@coopmin.org if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity.”

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Cooperative Ministry Helping with Disaster Relief

The Cooperative Ministry is working with the Red Cross to serve as a collection site for items needed by flood victims. Many people are dropping off clothing and items to flood shelters. The shelters will close and people will still need help. The Cooperative Ministry is positioned to accept donations and to help people for the long haul.Clothes1IMG_2622

People in need of clothing should write down sizes and needs before arriving to our clothing bank so we can help you in an efficient manner.

If you want to donate, we could use toiletries, NEW underwear and socks, blankets and towels.

If people are looking for a volunteer opportunity, we could   use help sorting and distributing clothing in the days ahead. The Cooperative Ministry is looking for shifts of 5 volunteers to help with our efforts for the foreseeable future.  If people want to help, let us know via social media or by contacting kmeador@coopmin.org. (803-422-6081)

 

 

 


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