Oftentimes a charity donor's only reward is the
personal gratification of knowing their generosity has helped
SERVE, Inc., has developed a donation option that gives donors an
opportunity to give and to honor someone they know at the same time.
The contributions - called special memorial tributes - directly
support the agency's Adopt-a-Family Christmas program, which
provides low-income families in Callaway County with holiday meal
baskets, gifts for the household and hope for the holidays.
“If someone is struggling with what to get a co-worker, a boss, a
friend or relative, adopting a family in their honor can be a
wonderful gift,” said Julie Lander, program director for SERVE's
Callaway Action Network. “The option can take a lot of the stress
out of holiday shopping, while also providing hope and joy to those
The concept already has gained local popularity.
Larry Languell of Tebbetts made a monetary donation in remembrance
of his former Odd Fellow Lodge brother, Marvin Stock, who recently
“The lodge always gives at this time of year, but since Marvin just
passed a few months ago and his brother Calvin still belongs to the
organization, we (the lodge) thought it would be a nice gesture to
make in his memory,” Languell explained.
Languell said Stock - a long-time member of Tebbetts Odd Fellow
Lodge No. 596 - lived and farmed in Callaway County most of his
life, and cared about his community.
“He would have considered this an excellent opportunity to help
humanity,” Languell added.
Mary Beth Books of Williamsburg is sponsoring a family in honor of
her children, Jason, Jennifer and Lydia Books.
“I have done this (adopted a family) for a couple of years and I
think the seed was planted (to honor her children) when my
daughter-in-law decided that this year our family didn't need
anything for Christmas, and that instead we should give to others
who are less fortunate,” Books explained.
Books said her family has been blessed in many ways, and her
daughter-in-law's selflessness is what guided her decision to make
the donation in her children's honor.
“My daughter-in-law is a beautiful person with a generous heart,”
Books noted. “The thought of a single parent not being able to give
their child something for Christmas is unbearable.
“For us, sharing what you have is the whole reason for the season,”
These are only two of about a half dozen other people who have made
memorial contributions, Lander said. She hopes the numbers continue
“Administering this program is always a humbling experience and
reaffirms my belief in the goodness of people,” Lander said.
“Whatever the reason someone chooses to participate and give (to the
program), the end result is that people in need receive food, gifts
The SERVE Adopt-A-Family Christmas program provides an anonymous
connection between donors and families in need.
Currently, 123 families have been adopted. Unfortunately, the agency
only has enough funds to sponsor 57 of the remaining 177 households
still needing help, Lander said.
For more information about the memorial tributes or the
Adopt-A-Family program, you may call Lander at (573) 642-6388 or
visit the SERVE office at 4901 County Road 304 in Fulton.
All contributions are tax deductible, and pledges also are welcomed.
The deadline to adopt a family is Dec. 8.
The Fulton Sun