SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Council of Churches and The Mystery Hour joined forces to donate a 12-passenger vehicle to the International Institute.

With high levels of refugees, Jeff Houghton and Sarah Jenkins of The Mystery Hour started a fundraiser called, The Great Ozarks Care-a-Van.

“When I learned that more than 100 Afghan families would settle in Springfield, I knew that The Mystery Hour should jump in and help in whatever way we could. I called the International Institute of Southwest Missouri, the organization responsible for the resettlement, and asked them what they needed,” said Houghton.

The International Institute of St. Louis’ Southwest Missouri Branch, located on E. Commercial St., helps refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers obtain housing, build local relationships, and find employment.

They told Houghton they needed a way to transport people around.

As donations poured in, Houghton offered that if someone gifted a vehicle, funds would go to the general fund for the International Institute to support refugee resettlement.

Jaimie Trussell, CEO of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks, offered a shuttle that they were not using.

$4,000 in funds raised from The Great Ozarks Care-a-Van to serve vehicle maintenance and other needs at the International Institute.

If you would like to help neighbors through the International Institute, visit www.iistl.org/iismo or contact Director Rebekah Thomas at thomasr@iistl.org.