The murders of three Columbia, Mo. men last spring, two of whom were teenagers, sparked outrage from concerned residents and lead to an assessment of the effectiveness of at-risk youth crime prevention programs.
It’s been six months since the shootings, and the community has had time to heal and reflect on the meaning of this tragedy.
39 year-old Lamont Sargent was shot and killed in March, and within a month, two 17-year-old Columbia residents, DeAudre Johnson and Bryan Rankin were also murdered.
A program that provides free daily meals to children from low-income families is under way this week in Columbia. The Lunch in the Park program fills a need that arises when the school year ends. Many children who receive free and reduced-price meals during the school year may not have access to nutritious meals during the summer.
The program, a partnership between the Health Department and the Volunteer Action Center, can serve more than 100 kids each day. Lunch in the Park also provides entertainment and educational activities.