COLUMBIA, MO—Almeta Crayton. The name may sound familiar to you, as she is a dear beneficiary of Veterans United Foundation. More importantly, however, most recognize Almeta Crayton as a notable community leader in Columbia, MO. Almeta served on the Columbia City Council from 1999 to 2008, representing the ward that encompasses the central city and downtown area. Yet, she is primarily known for her community outreach programs and philanthropic work.
Shortly after Almeta was elected, she opened a Neighborhood Resource Center, where a popular event known as “Everyone Eats” began to flourish. Everyone Eats is a volunteer-run event, headed by Almeta, that serves everyone in need of a hot Thanksgiving meal. Sadly, Ms. Crayton passed away shortly before this year’s “16th Annual Everyone Eats” and the question of who would carry on the event remained prevalent in the minds of Columbia citizens.
Fortunately, the Veterans United Foundation team had the pleasure of knowing Almeta and working with her this summer when the organization donated thousands of dollars to renovate her home. “Almeta Crayton is a community treasure in Missouri,” said Outreach Coordinator for the Foundation, Lindsey Sells. “She’s donated her life to ensuring people have adequate food, safety and housing.” Thus, it was only fitting that we enhanced the life of someone who has enhanced so many.
Upon Almeta’s passing, the Foundation immediately answered the lingering question of who would carry on such an admirable program. Veterans United employees donated their time while the organization provided funding for a majority of the food and supplies needed to carry out this year’s Thanksgiving meal. Additionally, a steering committee was formed and hundreds of people, including Almeta’s son, volunteered to share their Thanksgiving day with the program.
Nearly 700 individuals benefited from this year’s feast, which turned out to be a huge success, despite the absence of Almeta’s magnetic presence. Danny Spry Jr., a young, Columbia firefighter who was inspired by Ms. Crayton’s impact said it best, “Almeta left us, but not her legacy. Each and every one of us in here, and each and every one of us in this town share a piece of Almeta right here in our hearts.”
Please see the video below for a look inside Almeta's new home!