Rainbow House receives donations from MU organizations

Both the MU college democrats and republicans have donated to Rainbow House this holiday season.

It’s the season of giving, and the MU College Democrats and MU College Republicans are doing what they can to make the holiday season special for those less fortunate. Both organizations made the effort to raise funds to purchase gifts and much-needed items for the children and families at the local Rainbow House.

According to Rainbow House website, they have several services to provide a safe environment for children and to aid families in need. The organization encompasses a Children’s Emergency Shelter, a Regional Child Advocacy Center and a Homeless Youth Program, along with various therapy and educational services.

Rita Burke, MU College Democrats philanthropy chairwoman, said she suggested donating care packages to Rainbow House because she was familiar with the shelter after working with them on a story about child abuse in 2010.

“I was interested in helping them out, because I knew what they were going through,” Burke said. “We also wanted to give back to the community and have a positive connotation with our organization.”

Allyson Kutterer, MU College Republicans social chairwoman, said after brainstorming ways to get involved for the holidays, Vice President Amanda Swysgood suggested Rainbow House.

“We looked at them, and they were really nice,” Kutterer said. “We decided to give back to the children of Columbia.”

This was the first time either organization decided to support Rainbow House in their efforts. Each contacted Rainbow House and was provided with suggestions for items, along with a list of supplies that are always appreciated. Both organizations encouraged their members to contribute what they could at meetings and events.

The MU College Democrats proceeded to raise monetary donations, and with some additional funds provided from the organization’s account, they raised enough for the executive board to make a few successful shopping trips.

“We originally wanted to do individual packages, but we didn’t have specific numbers, so we decided to do a few packages for each, Burke said. "Two for adults, two for children, a few for toddlers."

These packages included diapers, formula, bottles, pacifiers, jump ropes, games, winter gear and puzzles for the infants and children. For adults, there were gift cards to the local grocery stores and bus passes.

“I think it’s important for all organizations in general to do some charity work and give back to the community, especially during the holidays,” said Zachary Henry, the newly elected president of the MU College Democrats. “It’s a great opportunity and it gives you more empathy for those who have less than you.”

The MU College Republicans began collecting donations on Nov. 10 and will continue until Dec. 11, a day when members intend to volunteer their time at Rainbow House.

In an effort to raise monetary donations and items, members promoted the cause in Speakers Circle. The member who brings in the largest amount of items will receive a prize.

“We were trying to collect any kind of food,” Kutterer said. “We’ve been collecting a lot of juice, winter coats, diapers, anything for younger kids.”

Both Burke and Kutterer professed satisfaction with their respective endeavors.

“I was hoping for the best, and we were working very hard,” Burke said. “I feel that it was very successful. I think in the spring we will hope to do more, but it went well.”

Burke said that though she and fellow officers will be moving on, they intend to keep the contact open so the organization can always be contacted for help in drives or donations.

“I think it’ll bring us closer together as a group,” Kutterer said. “It’s been pretty successful, and we’re definitely looking forward to actually going there and volunteering.”

Kutterer plans to drop off the collected items the day they volunteer, and members of the MU College Democrats will deliver the presents to Rainbow House next week.

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