Columbia nonprofit group is helping the community with food assistance, workforce needs, and other areas.
For COMO families in need of stability, Rock the Community is a nonprofit that lives up to its name.
Established in 2010, the 501(c)(3) organization is geared toward inner-city youth and provides the community with food giveaways, job readiness, and financial literacy courses. Not only does the organization provide services, but it also hosts events to gather people together in an entertaining manner that bridges the gap between COMO’s local government and its residents.
Every year, Rock the Community hosts a back-to-school event at Douglass Park. The group gives away around 500 backpacks and assorted school supplies to the community while also providing city residents a positive atmosphere.
This year’s event featured vendors from all over the city. They set up tents to explain what they are and how they can help. Rock the Community Director Rita Renee explained how fun the event is and what a time it is to be a part of the event.
“It’s just a time to have just a festival in the park,” Rita said.
Rock the Community has received much recognition throughout the years. The group received a resolution from the City of St. Louis and COMO, the latter of which proclaimed June 2 as Rock the Community Day. Additionally, MU awarded the organization The Excellence in Engagement & Outreach award in 2022, as well.
Rock the Community aids the city and its residents in multiple aspects of their everyday lives. One major service provided is food security supplying supplemental meals to families or individuals that are in need. Another service it offers is rental assistance. With this service, families that meet certain criteria, including being 30 or more days behind in rent, can receive rent assistance. Rock the Workforce, a Rock the Community program, gives individuals employment skills and support to help with resume building, financial literacy, and other various employment skills. Rock the Community is able to offer all of these services to anyone in need with no costs to them. Those in need are able to utilize Rock the Community’s services via their online booking.
Every month, the group hosts a drive-thru pantry providing food and supplies to everyone in the community; attendees can even grab treats and foods for their fur babies. The drive-thru events are usually posted on Rock the Community’s social media platforms for the community to share with others to get the word out about the event ahead of time.
This organization is volunteer-based and always looking for volunteers to help out in any way they can. Rock the Community receives its funding from private citizens that make donations, while the rental assistance program is organized through Boone County. Donations made on the website can be one-time or can be scheduled on a monthly basis. Every dollar counts toward the organization’s 2022 goal of reaching $10,000 in donations.
COVID-19 hit many people hard financially. Rita looked back on the organization’s impact on the community during the virus’ initial onset.
“When the pandemic hit, there were many families that didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from or if they could pay their next month’s rent and it made a huge difference making those people feel like they had a place to turn to and a place to not judge them.” Rita said.
And Rita’s favorite part about working with the organization?
“The impact we have on our youth, or the family dynamics is my favorite part about working with Rock the Community,” she said.
Rock the Community
310 Tiger Lane