Excelsior Springs Charity Leader Quits to Benefit Community

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- The holiday season presents an atmosphere of giving.

Charities ask for everything from coats to canned goods to cash donations, so that everyone can enjoy the holiday season. In Excelsior Springs, generosity arrives in many forms. Clients at the Good Samartian Center witness it firsthand.

Anna Cooper is part of the family at this human services charity. She was working as executive director of the non-profit group, when she was advised to reduce her budget by $100,000.

Her solution -- resign her post -- with the understanding that her $30,000 annual salary would be used to pay the bills.

"I spent several months reviewing. I had to make some staffing cuts," Cooper said.  "It was more of a cash flow issue. We had to make quite a few cuts just to get back."

"It's very generous," Martha Buckman, who took over as interim director after Cooper's voluntary resignation. "No one in my past has ever done that -- or in the future. I guess that's why I found it hard to believe that she was going to do that."

Good Samartian Center has been open in a former church building for 25 years, providing clothing, food, furniture, and in some cases, rent money to people down on their luck. Anna says she could either cut services to clients in need, or cut her own paycheck.

Chris Tavares used to come here for help. Now, he comes to help out in the food pantry, and he's gratified by Anna's gutsy call.

"She's been a delight," Tavares said."She's a friend. She was a real pick-me-up for the pantry. It was just nice to have her here."

Anna says her voluntary decision to leave didn't come easily. She'd only moved to Excelsior Springs from her native Tyler, Texas within the past year, and she'd only been on the job here at the center for about nine months. Still, it's that kind of generosity, according to her former co-workers, that keeps this place in business.

"Now that she's gone, we all miss her of course, but it goes on," Tavares said.

"This is God's ministry," Cooper added. "I did what I felt He was leading me to do to keep this ministry alive. If i am faithful, He will be faithful."

The Good Samaritan Center in Excelsior Springs still needs your donations to fill out the rest of its budget. You can find their website here.



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