Since 2001, hundreds of Columbia residents have donated to Share the Light through their utility bill, providing funds to conduct and support programs that would otherwise not be possible. As of end of year 2013, more than $203,000 has been raised through the generosity of our citizens. With oversight from the City Council, over $168,000 has been appropriated. Thanks to the many people who have chosen to support this program.
Appropriations from Share the Light contribute to one or more of six areas of city programming that extend beyond basic services. The six areas are community arts programming, community beautification, youth recreation scholarships, public health, fire prevention and education and crime prevention. Over the past nine years funds from Share the Light have supported initiatives in all six areas.
In 2013, Share the Light funds were tapped for a number of projects including:
- The Columbia Police Department purchased supplies and exterior clothing for volunteers at CPD event and conducted a youth crime prevention education workshop.
- The Health Department provided a dental clinic for children and made supplies available for persons with chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
- Youth recreation scholarships enabled youth from low income households to participate in recreational activities sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department.
- The Columbia Fire Department purchased smoke alarms across a variety of facilities and homes.
- Community Arts Programming funds were used to provide light at night for an outside sculpture and offer two art education experiences for Columbia children.
In addition to these programs, funds were expended through the CASH/HELP program to assist low income Columbia residents with the cost of their water and/or electric bills. CASH (Citizens Assisting Seniors and Handicapped) are for persons age 60 and older and for the disabled. HELP (Heat Energy Light Program) is for qualifying families with minor aged children in the home. Your support of these programs provided these vital services to individuals and families throughout the year.
Many thanks again to the hundreds of area residents who have supported Share the Light and CASH/HELP and made a positive difference in our community.