August 25, 2017
DEFINITION: benevolent: Shows kindness and is generous in providing aid to others.
Shivering and wet, a young South American girl in a pale yellow dress enters the home of the American missionaries that have taken up temporary residence in her town. Their 9-year-old daughter, on her own accord, offers the cold girl a coat to warm up— and not just any coat. It’s a brand new, red, white hooded, wool coat the daughter begged her parents to buy her for Christmas. Even though it’s precious to her, at the end of the evening, the missionaries’ daughter insists the little girl keep her coat.
Fast forward in time … A recently divorced mother of three is angry with life and angry with God. Out of spite, and a little out of curiosity, she travels to South America to see if the missionary work her departed father spent his life on actually made any difference. She wonders if the churches he planted still exist.
She arrives and finds those buildings very much intact. She meets a man who remembers her and invites her to his home for lunch. At lunch, as the man introduces the guest to his wife, she begins to cry and runs out of the room. She returns quickly, dragging a large round-top trunk behind her. She opens it and pulls out a coat. After many years of use, the once red coat has faded to an almost pink hue.
Ruth Costello’s eyes fill with tears as she recalls the story of her little red coat.
“It was something that changed my life right away. It’s a story of realizing that your nothing becomes something.”
“You never know the joy you’re giving. You never know what could happen from your donation.”
From its humble beginnings out of the trunk of Ruth’s car, Grace House now serves St. Joseph by providing kitchen ware, clothes, shoes, blankets, baby items, toiletries, Bibles, and prayers to 800 less fortunate members of our community every month all for no charge. In addition, Grace House serves 1,100 kids at back-to-school time.
When Ruth moved from California to St. Joseph years ago, she saw a need in this community and felt compelled to do something about it. Her ministry, which has culminated into the building at 27th and Lafayette, hosts several events throughout the year including a canned food drive, a coat and jacket drive, shoe drive, and a winter blanket collection.
“When you love somebody that’s out of your element, that’s when it’s loving like God loves. I think we just need to love more and care more.”
Ruth’s benevolent spirit and charismatic demeanor echo the words of the Book of Matthew.
“Freely he have received. Freely give.” – Matthew 10:8
Dwayne Blakely just has a way. A way with football. With fitness. And with inspiration.
St. Joseph is a city of stories. Like historic towns across the country, there are blocks of amazing homes, business buildings and neighborhoods. Founded in 1843, St. Joseph’s location along the Missouri River and national mid-point created an economic and residential boom fueled by Westward expansion, transportation and communication industries.
Amidst the chaos of a packed gymnasium… squeak, squeak. Bounce. Bounce. These are the only sounds that matter. Sneakers and a basketball against a polished gym floor.
When visitors and locals visit historic Hall Street in St. Joseph, they usually look up. A lot. And then they stop and stare. They take pictures and walk very slowly. They usually return, because this neighborhood known as “Millionaire’s Row” tells the story of St. Joseph’s turn-of-the century wealth and opulence like nothing else.
Not only does the SBTDC help hundreds of small business owners capitalize on their dreams, it is a great example of how government agencies, higher education, and nonprofit organizations can work together for the greater good.