Monday, December 17, 2012

What is it worth?

With much of the weekend soaked with cold and rain, the usual golf day (and probably season) was postponed, leaving the entertainment options scarce. Thus, I decided to head out with my girlfriend on one of her usual Saturday trips around the area to estate sale, garage sales and other sales in which people want to rid themselves of their personal belongings.

On this trip, we saw albums from the early 70’s and 80’s for sale, rusted tools, weed trimmers, books (tons of books), toys, dolls; you name it, it was probably for sale in the greater St. Joseph area on Saturday and Sunday.

At this particular estate sale it was fairly obvious that the person who owned the house was a senior citizen since most every item at the sale looked like it had been there quiet sometime. There were the above mentioned record albums from the 70’s, old-style silverware, tools that nobody uses anymore; you get the picture. And since I didn’t see any elderly people at the sale, I assumed that they had either passed away or were unable to live alone and were in a health facility for the elderly.

Going around the house I saw one item for sale that was questionable at best – in my opinion; it was a brand-new, right-out-of-the-box, state-of-the-art, never-been-used wheelchair. Price Tag? $100.

I stared at it quizzically, wondering a couple of different things - How much does a new one cost from a manufacturer?; Would someone actually purchase one at an estate sale? - Who came up with the price of $10? After going through these scenarios, the lasting question that I still have today is – How much was that wheelchair worth?

According to the person running the estate sale, it was worth $100 to them, but what about the lone senior struggling to get around in their own home or in public? What about those sons or daughters who have aging parents that need this piece of equipment to help their parents get around better but can’t afford it? What about the caregiver who sees seniors bedridden or unable to get around on a daily basis, knowing that if they could come up with this wheelchair that they could make more of a difference to one of their clients?

In leaving the sale, I had met with the folks running it, explained to them that I worked for InterServ and if they didn’t get the $100 they thought the wheelchair was worth at the time, and if they still had it, they could donate it to InterServ and we would find that senior, son or daughter, care-giver, who would think these pieces of aluminum, plastic and rubber were priceless at best.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Everyone Can Give

At first glance, the Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, located between Frederick Avenue and Faraon Avenue in St. Joseph, looks like any other correctional facility of its kind - brick, barbed-wire fencing at many different levels, metal detectors, visitor’s pass – you get the idea.

Wednesday afternoon was the first time I had ever visited a facility of this type. Oh yeah, I had driven by the correctional facilities in Cameron and Jefferson City a few times, but I had never stepped foot inside of one. So when InterServ received a call last week from the recreational director at the WRDCC and she stated that the “Restorative Justice” group had raised some money and wanted to give it to InterServ, I didn’t think anything of it really. I thought it would be a bunch of administrators who had formed a group, got the “tenants” of this facility to do a fundraiser and give the money to a local group for the good of humanity and I was to have a little talk about InterServ, accept the check and head back to my desk.

That was before the door opened up that led us through the “common area” from one building to the other – through a small mass of inmates that were heading in the same direction. What before was an uneventful Wednesday, became much more interesting as my attention to detail became keener even though it was explained to me that I would be among a group who were “close to getting out” and that there wouldn’t be a problem. My anxiety, and possibly stereotypical response, towards this situation was all for not as I learned more about the people in the group and addressed them about InterServ. I explained what we do, and how the money that they generously donated to InterServ would help a number of people. Everyone in the group was fixed on what I was saying. They were hungry to know that the funds they raised were helping people, especially the elderly people that InterServ interacts on a daily basis. They had seen television stories and read about the need to help seniors during the summer months due to heat and hunger issues.

I sat through the rest of their meeting, taking an obligatory “check presentation” picture at the end, shook hands with everyone and left them with a sense of camaraderie that I hadn’t felt in a while. The folks who live in this facility are just that – folks. Sure the majority of them had done something that they probably have regretted at one time or another to get in there, but they are folks, just like you and me, who at some point in their life felt that giving to others was more important than receiving.

The State of Missouri calls this “restorative justice” and to some extent it is a successful program fit for this type of facility, but to me it just seemed like people caring for the well-being of others, even if some are behind a bunch of barbed-wire.

Check out the Missouri Restorative Justice Coalition at

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Olympic Fever at InterServ

Youth Director Dennis Snethen shares his views on the upcoming Olympic Games in London.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

The smell of sausage, biscuits, and eggs greeted me as I walked in the door this morning, a gentle reminder that today we celebrate mom's here at InterServ.  Early Care and Education programs hosted breakfast for children, moms and grandmas this morning in honor of the holiday.  If you are looking for a meaningful gift for mom, consider making a gift to InterServ in her honor and help support programs such as our Early Care and Education programs that prepare children for success in school.  Call the InterServ Foundation at 816-238-4511 Ext. 229 or e-mail to learn more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Special Edition of SOUPer Bowl Food Drive

Last week, we lost a long-standing supporter. Mr. Fred Noeth was a member of Wyatt Park Christian Church. This church always has a food drive during our SOUPer Bowl food drive promotion in January and February. Mr. Noeth created “Wyatt Park Stadium” and each year he was passionate about promoting this event which supports InterServ’s Calvin Center Food Pantry.

In memory of Mr. Noeth, the church has a special edition of this food drive running through April 22. They have already collected over 700 food items!

We at InterServ are very blessed by this outpouring of love - a special
remembrance for a very special friend of InterServ.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Something Nice for You

People show kindness in many different ways. Such was the case on Wednesday afternoon at the Calvin Center.
Randy Sharp, InterServ Director of Operations, was leaving the Calvin Center and bumped into a community member with gardening on his mind and a tool in hand.

The anonymous “gardener” had taken it upon himself to start trimming the bushes and flowers outside of the Calvin Center after noticing they needed a little maintenance. He was standing in the Calvin Center flower bed with a pair of clippers working when Randy approached him. The gardener turned, took off his gloves, shook Randy’s hand and asked “I hope this is OK? I was driving by and noticed your shrubs could use a little trimming. I was already dirty from working outside today, so I decided to stop and trim these shrubs. Since you do so many good things for so many people here, I just thought I’d do something nice for you.” The gardener didn’t offer his name, so Randy thanked him and went on his way.

InterServ provides many services for a number of different people every day, so when a community member recognizes what InterServ does and goes out of his way to help us, it makes the day brighter and the landscaping look great.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


After a busy and somewhat tiring weekend, the Monday morning workday was one that, from the onset, was to be lackluster at best. With a staff meeting and paperwork on my mind and a cup of coffee that just wasn’t doing it, I turned on the computer wondering what else could be pending that I could cram into the first day of the week.
There were about five e-mails that I had received between the time I left the office on Friday evening to the Monday morning reboot. One was from a potential committee member, two were from folks who began following InterServ on Twitter and one was from the InterServ website – – and its contact page, which has a general information field that allows those people interested in InterServ to ask questions and get directions from the right departments or programs.
Since InterServ has upgraded the website to include this option, there have been a number of inquiries, mostly about Summer Jam, employment opportunities and work camps, but this one I received on Monday, peeked my interest and put our organization and its various programs in motion.
This was a person who needed help. The information field read “Hello. I am looking for assistance with my rent this month and utility bills. I've never done this before and am not sure where to go. Can you please let me know what I need to do? Thank you so much.”
Within two e-mails and a phone call, InterServ staff made the connection and got the people what they needed for before the day was over. It happened quickly, but sometimes that is exactly what those who are in need of assistance need the most – quick action for some peace of mind. InterServ provided them with the aid they were looking for and, even though they won’t ever know it, they provided me with a great Monday morning pick-up and my own peace of mind.

Friday, January 27, 2012

SOUPer Bowl is Coming! Are You Ready?

This just in:

Wyatt Park "Stadium" is starting to fill up in advance of the SOUPer Bowl.

I have heard from a few churches that are planning to participate in this year’s SOUPer Bowl Food Drive to benefit InterServ’s Calvin Center Food Pantry. So far I know that Wyatt Park Christian, Huffman Memorial United Methodist and Ashland United Methodist churches are planning to have food drives for us in January and February. Has your church made plans to hold a food drive for InterServ yet? If you have, please let me know so I can add your name to the list and if you need help getting the food to Calvin Center, let me know so we can try to line up some volunteers to help…. Thank you to everyone for all you do all year long to feed hungry people right here in St. Joseph. InterServ appreciates you!!!

Call (816-238-4511 Ext. 29) or E-mail ( me for more information!

The collection continues throughout the month of February.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meaning of Christmas Tree at the Living Community

For the second straight year the Living Community of St. Joseph put together a fundraiser for the InterServ Mobile Meals Program and Senior Supply Closet. Those entering the lobby of the Living Community immediately saw a Christmas tree called the “Meaning of Christmas Tree”. This tree allowed residents and visitors alike to purchase a number of hanging ornaments off of the tree, including different styles of cross ornaments, for their own Christmas trees. The funds raised through the purchases were then donated to InterServ for the Mobile Meals Program.
This past Christmas the Living Community’s “Meaning of Christmas Tree” raised $1,203 along with a full truckload of other items for the Mobile Meals Program and the Senior Supply Closet at the Calvin Center.
InterServ is thankful to the residents and staff of the Living Community of St. Joseph and their “Meaning of Christmas Tree.” The Living Community and InterServ both were impacted by the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season.