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Pathways Contact
Direct: 417-326-2769 ext 2

What is Pathways?

Our Pathways program is all about finding one's unique road to personal and financial stability. While much of COM's programs focus on group work, Pathways is where one-on-one interactions happen. In particular, Pathways focuses on two key steps: developing steady income (employment) and increasing financial stability.


First, Pathways works with individuals to ensure they have a stable stream of income. Usually this means encouraging access to employment. For some, this means a regular full-time job. For others (especially those on disability or seniors), it might mean part-time work, side gigs, or other non-traditional work. However, without steady, consistent income, there can be no stability or food security.

As part of this, COM also has a limited number of paid positions through our social enterprises (thrift store and recycling) that we offer to neighbors needing help in this area. Those hired in these positions gain immediate access to income and simultaneously work with our Pathways staff on personal stability and soft skills that can help them find long-term employment


Just because a person has income coming in, does not mean they are suddenly food secure or out of poverty. Individuals and families still need to know how to manage their money, how to respond to financial crises and avoid common pitfalls, and how to connect to resources to help them overcome other systemic challenges. Once income has been established, Pathways works with our neighbors to develop the skills and access the resources they need to be personally and financially resilient.



In many cases, emergency financial relief is not the appropriate solution because the unstable situation is chronic with deep roots or because the situation is not an emergency. In these cases, COM can give our neighbors an opportunity to do volunteer work to earn vouchers for some assistance. This both helps the neighbor and allows them to give back to the community as well.

(Voluntarily Invested Partners)

If you are looking for financial assistance, please note that COM emphasizes a long-term view of your well-being.  While we can sometimes speak to an immediate need, we will only do so if you are also willing to work with us on that long-term stability. We generally do NOT offer financial assistance for rent or utilities except for individuals already enrolled in our Pathways program as other programs offer this kind of assistance. We can sometimes help with fuel, vehicle repairs, ID recovery, and other needs on a case-by-case basis.


We require a budgeting meeting before any major financial assistance is given (over $50), and run most assistance through our VIP program where individuals can volunteer hours in exchange for financial help. Those seeking financial assistance should be aware of the following guidelines:

  • You must schedule an appointment with a Pathways staff member. We can be flexible to work around your schedule, but you need to schedule an appointment as it will take some time to review your situation prior to a decision. You can set up an appointment by calling 417-326-2769 opt 2. 

  • We will also require a "Needs Request Form" (download here)to be completed prior to your appointment. This form will help us better understand your situation and possible solutions so we can save time during the actual appointment.

  • VIP hours may be required to be complete prior to assistance or vouchers being given.

  • Larger requests generally will not be met on the same day of the request except in the case of a true emergency. Requests will require the establishment of a long-term plan as well, so do not wait until the last minute to schedule a meeting with us. When requesting help with a rent or utility bill, be prepared to discuss the following:

    • 30 days income and spending

    • Last 5 years of work history for all adults (over 18) in household

    • Reasons for monetary needs (have the bill in question ready to show us)

    • What has been done so far to solve the monetary problems​

    • Complete the "Where Does Your Money Go" worksheet

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