For over 100 years, InterServ has stood as a symbol of hope for individuals and families in St. Joseph, bringing community leaders, volunteers, and churches together to counter the effects of poverty on children, youth, elderly and families. Since 1909, we have worked to seek out and assist those in need, so that all may live their lives more fully and more capably. From our rich heritage as an outreach mission of the Methodist Church to the ecumenical ministry we have become today, our history (and our future) is built on a foundation of faith and an unwavering determination to advocate on behalf of those with the fewest alternatives.
From the very beginning, when a group of women from the Methodist Episcopal Church opened the doors of Wesley House to offer citizenship classes and support to immigrants seeking employment in the stockyards and packing plants in St. Joseph, InterServ has shaped the social service landscape in our community—responding to ever-changing needs and challenges. With Deaconess Miss Francis Scott leading the mission, Wesley House, in conjunction with the Jr. League, organized a milk station serving milk every afternoon and each Saturday to groups of mothers and children who were encouraged to stay at the station and drink all the milk they wanted. As the early programs grew, new programs were formed to address emerging needs. The Mother's Club, a support group to help immigrant mothers learn to live in a new culture, offered night classes in English with an emphasis on Americanization that enabled adult students to become naturalized citizens.
As convener and advocate, InterServ has built a reputation as a leader in our community. Our Elderly Nutrition and Homemaker programs were one of the first established in the state. Today, our Mobile Meals program, which began in the early 1970's, is the largest in the area, serving over 150,000 meals to homebound seniors each year.
Under the direction of Joyce Raye Patterson and later David G. Berger, InterServ pressed forward to meet new challenges and reflect changing times. Gone is the milk station, but in its place InterServ worked to develop the summer "Playground" to keep young children safe and active, after school programs for youth, and senior housing across the city. The popular sport of boxing gave way to Olympic weightlifting in the youth program and a transitional living program for abused women and their children teaches independent living skill through one-on-one counseling and support was established. Even as we dream for the future and make the vision of a safe haven and transitional housing for the chronic homeless a reality, we have also returned to our past to serve a growing immigrant population.
Through the years, InterServ has seen many changes—our programs and services, our location, even our name has changed, but our mission has remained the same. In the late 1960's and early 1970's partnerships were formed with other church-related ministries; first with Catholic Social Services, then Presbyterian Community Action Programs, and later with Midland Empire Regional Ministry. Our ministry is linked to National Division and the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Heartland Presbytery, and the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ bringing about the name Interfaith Community Services (InterServ) which represents both who were are and what we do. InterServ is the bridge between communities of faith, neighbors, government programs and community volunteers bring diverse groups together in mission, service and advocacy.
For almost a century, we have actively responded to the needs of the community by developing programs and services relevant to the needs of the people. InterServ stands as a beacon of hope, providing comprehensive social services that reach vulnerable populations throughout Northwest Missouri. Individual & Family Assistance, Counseling and Case Management, Immigrant Services, In-Home Services, Professional Medical Services, Elderly Nutrition, Infant/Childcare, Youth Programs and Volunteer Opportunities address issues that impact the individuals and families that make our community, and our region, strong.
Through the years InterServ has seen many changes— our programs and services, our location, even our name has changed. However, our mission and our values remain the same.
One big change and after many years of exploration, information gathering and prayer, InterServ has moved into a new facility, a new health and wellness center in south St. Joseph. InterServ’s faithful commitment to our community that began in 1909 will continue for years to come with the addition of a new facility at the corner of Cherokee and King Hill Avenue that has replaced the Wesley Center.
The new center provides for a new gymnasium, commons area, fitness/weight room, kitchen and food pantry and administrative offices.
Bridget J. Supple
5400 King Hill Avenue
PO Box 4038
St Joseph, Missouri 64504
© 2021. Interfaith Community Services, Inc. a 501(c)(3) organization.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
InterServ is a United Way Community Partner. Other Partners include: United Methodist Women, Inc. and the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church, The Heartland Presbytery (PCUSA); The Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ; St. Joseph Community Development; and the USDA - The USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider, MO General Revenue & DHSS/ Division of Senior & Disability Services through the Older Americans Act of 1965 and a contract with NWMO Area Agency on Aging, Inc.; and a contract with Second Harvest of Greater St. Joseph.