Monday, December 29, 2014

Mindful of and grateful for your compassion

Imagine having to choose between feeding your children or replacing the shoes they just grew out of. Imagine having to work late, knowing that your 9 year old will come home from school to an empty house, no dinner, and an evening alone in a neighborhood that’s a little rough. Now imagine that it’s Christmas. There’s no tree. And, even if there were, there’s no money for gifts to go under it. That a 9 year old is home every day for 2 weeks with very little food in the house and no heat, because the gas was disconnected in November.

Throughout its one hundred five year history, InterServ has relied on its partnerships with people of faith, services clubs, schools and businesses—its donors and volunteers—to assure that any person who needs help is able to get help. Each year, the generosity of thousands of people helps thousands of people in need to meet their own basic needs and to be fed—body, mind and spirit. As volunteers and donors, you are present and available, through InterServ, for youth who need guidance and supervision; families whose children need care so that parents can work during the day; elderly persons, as they age gracefully in their own homes; immigrants searching for a better life for themselves and their families; and people facing homelessness and hunger due to financial crises.

In this season of faithful reflection, we remain mindful of and grateful for your compassion and support and the enormous difference it makes in the lives of people who turn to InterServ for assistance. Your kindness allows us, as a community, to respond in a way that reflects the social teaching of the Gospel, bringing awareness of a loving and compassionate God in all seasons.  Thank you.

“Through the sharing of God’s love, we seek out and assist those in need, so that all may live their lives more fully and more capably.”

Peace and joy,


Dave Howery

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Lessons of Leaves

Bridget Supple - The InterServ Foundation.
Reflecting back on the year, one thing that always strikes me is the number of loyal and steadfast supporters we have lost. Many were unexpected — sudden illness or accident — but just as many can be attributed to the cycle of life, finding the inevitable end of its path for many who believed in supporting the organizations that help other people.

Walking through my neighborhood recently, enjoying the last of the warmer weather and trying to judge how long the leaves still had before they were piles to rake, it occurred to me that we, as social workers, volunteers and donors who support the work of InterServ, often expect of humankind what we cannot and should not expect of anyone or anything. We want permanence, finality, an end to having to raise money for "the cause," an end to helping people dig out of messes, an end to human suffering, an end to everything we do. But, as we learn every year from the autumn leaves, that just isn’t nature’s way. The world does not trade in permanence, but in perpetual rebirth and renewal.

Nowhere is the circle of life more evident than it is in the ranks of volunteers and donors. InterServ and its Foundation are full of "servants." People — like you — who know how to make things happen. People who make sure that people who turn to InterServ in times of need get what they need and then some — a shoulder on which to cry; a kind word; a reassuring touch; a smile that tells them that it will be okay — maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.

The people of InterServ — volunteer, employee and donor — don’t do the things they do for their own glory. They do their jobs — paid or unpaid — every day for someone else. They may not know who that "someone" is yet, but they know, without a doubt, that there will be a "someone" who needs their help. Their hearts are the hearts of servants, the hearts of caregivers. Their hearts know that what today brings will end and tomorrow will bring something else — a problem, a blessing, something.

This year, as every year, we have lost several of our most loyal and devoted "InterServants." As we reflect on them and their support of InterServ, our memories take us back to others we have known through this mission of faith and service. People we have lost in that never-ending circle of life. People who have shown us what it means to, truly, care for humankind. And in our reflections, we remember the legacy that each of those lost have left. Whether it was simply the example of caring for people by delivering meals or regular donations to support the mission of InterServ, memorials requested to InterServ or an estate gift upon death, each person who has cared about InterServ has left a mark on the hearts and lives of those touched by InterServ.

We are grateful to those who have passed through this mission of faith and service, for caring about InterServ and the work that InterServ does. And we are grateful to you for what you do for InterServ every day. What will your legacy be? You are writing your legacy in our hearts every single day. Thank you for your support.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Devoted donors for InterServ

When money gets tight or harder to find, it becomes much more important to plan how to continue to accomplish our mission. And that is exactly what the staff and board at InterServ have been discussing, in much more specific terms than we have in the past—“How will we continue to serve people in need in our community if available funds continue to decrease?”
As a nonprofit that has been particularly responsive to the needs of people as well as receptive to requests from other nonprofits, churches, government, etc., to “do something” about whatever problem has arisen at any given time, InterServ has made itself vulnerable to the “mood swings” of the economy. Fortunately, you and donors like you have made us strong enough to provide resources needed to address almost any emergency situation in the community. One way in which you have done that is to rise to the occasion—when InterServ puts out a call for volunteers, you come, in droves; when we need funding to help people displaced by flooding, you provide it; and when we ask for prayers to keep our staff and volunteers strong, you pray. But one way in which our donors and volunteers have kept us strong is something that we haven’t talked much about up to now.
Over the last year or so, a number of our very devoted donors and volunteers have passed away. In several instances, just as we became accustomed to not seeing or hearing from one of them, we received a letter, letting us know that this loyal servant had included us in his or her estate plan. It is an awe-inspiring and emotional occurrence, receiving that letter. It reminds us, every time, that we are here on earth for such a short while. When we are gone, the things about which we cared, so dearly, may still exist, but will be less without our support.
And so it goes with InterServ. We will continue to feed people. To care for children. To make sure that the youth of our community stay on the right path. To help families to help themselves. To assist the elderly and the infirmed in living where they want to live. And, thanks to the thoughtfulness and planning of the many people who remembered to name InterServ as beneficiaries in their wills, InterServ is stronger and more resilient to the financial highs and lows that so often damage nonprofits. The mission lives on.
Simply naming InterServ in your estate plan leaves behind not only a legacy of love and caring, but an answer to the question, “How will we continue to serve people in need?” Your legacy of love and caring for your neighbors is one of the most important gifts that you will ever give. InterServ promises, in return, to use your gift wisely, to help those most vulnerable among us to live their lives more fully and more capably.

We thank you for your partnership and support, but mostly we thank you for making life better for others.