A little about our roots
SERVE, Inc. knows that strength not only lies in our words, but in our actions as well. We have set out on a mission to truly serve others. SERVE, Inc. inspires action, serves donors, and supports our community and has done so since our inception. While we have grown leaps and bounds since the beginning, our mission to serve others has remained the same for over 45 years.
SERVE was founded in 1971 by a group of local churches and pastors from many denominations, known as the Ecumenical Ministries. The nine congregations that made up this group included Callaway County churches that were committed to doing ministry work together for the betterment of the community. The Ecumenical Ministries quickly realized that the needs of the community far exceeded the resources of the churches, and therefore developed SERVE to be the social service arm of the organization.
SERVE was chartered as a non-profit social service agency in July 1972. The purpose of the agency was to define areas of human need and seek to meet those needs. SERVE opened its doors in January 1973. At that time, SERVE was committed to working with potential at-risk students, supporting daycare needs, providing a food assistance program, and to support that work with senior citizens. SERVE also provided assistance to individuals and families seeking adequate housing.
In November 1973, SERVE began providing home-delivered meals to senior citizens, through a program known as “Meals on Wheels”. This later evolved into a central dining facility, the “SERVE Central Dining Room”, which was funded in part by the Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging (CMAAA) to provide nutritious meals and activities for seniors. This was the foundation of our current and first two vital programs that operated under the SERVE umbrella: SERVE Transportation and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which were both founded in 1976. RSVP assisted in finding volunteer opportunities for senior citizens in Callaway County, and continues with this mission today. SERVE Transportation began with one small passenger van which delivered meals to seniors, and transported residents into the dining room. Our buses now travel over 22,000 miles and conduct more than 3,000 one-way trips per month. Our third program, SERVE Outreach, started with the Food Pantry, and has grown to include emergency financial assistance, a school supply program, a Christmas gift program, car seat vouchers and fan program, and referral services. The final program of SERVE, Inc., The Clothes Cupboard, was acquired in 1978 and continues today by providing greatly reduced and discounted clothing and household items to customers. Proceeds generated from the second hand thrift store help to fund the emergency services for our Outreach Program.
The need for SERVE, Inc. became apparent many years ago by local churches and committed pastors in our rural community. Over the past 45 years, our programs have grown as the needs of our community have changed. Through these changes, SERVE has always been a firm foundation of committed service and continues striving to complete our mission: To organize, facilitate, promote and provide services to meet the needs of the citizens of Callaway County.