Angels Anonymous supports community

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
De McGruder, a member of Angels Anonymous, receives a Valentines wreath from her "secret sister" on Feb. 11. Angels Anonymous, which has 13 members, is an area service organization. Jason Johnston

Service sorority are group of friends who help each other

As the U.S. celebrates Women's History Month throughout March, Angels Anonymous hopes to send out its message of generosity and community support.

"Angels Anonymous is a group of women that used to be Beta Sigma Phi, and they decided to keep their money more local instead of sending it to the international sorority," said De McGruder, one of 13 current members of Angels Anonymous. "So, they formed Angels Anonymous. We are all good friends, and we are service-oriented."

The Tau Eta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi participates in the 2001 Cassville Chili Cook-off. This chapter became Angels Anonymous about four years ago. Contributed Photo

Angels Anonymous, which used to be the Tau Eta Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, originated about four years ago, said Brenda Fletcher, treasurer of Angels Anonymous and owner of All Points Recycling in Cassville. The service sorority donates time and money toward local people in need, mainly children.

Gretchen Bussman, a member of Angels Anonymous and a former Cassville High School counselor for 11 years, said she would notify the others if any student needed school supplies, clothes or money toward a school function.

"Some of them kind of felt embarrassed and didn't want to take some of these things, and I would always just tell them, 'Listen, you need this now, and someday when you can afford it, you help somebody else,'" said Bussman, who retired after 29 years in education with the Cassville and Purdy school districts. "I think that's what we're doing. We all have struggled in our lives, and now we can give."

LaDon Vanzandt, a nurse at Cassville Intermediate School and Fletcher's sister-in-law, informs Angels Anonymous if a student requires any help.

"We helped a little boy get a pair of glasses in grade school," she said.

A few years ago, the group raised enough money for a male Cassville High School student to travel to his mother's funeral, Fletcher said. He was living with his grandmother in Cassville at the time.

"We have about $3,500 in our account right now," she said. "We collect $700 a year in dues. That's the only fundraiser that we do right now. If we need to do another fundraiser, we would."

In June 2011, Angels Anonymous held a fashion show, which raised around $1,900 for backpack programs offered through the Cassville, Purdy and Exeter school districts. McGruder hosted the event at her Cassville ranch.

Last year, the group hosted its inaugural tea time with fourth-grade girls at Cassville Intermediate School, where the members served punch and cookies while the girls received "the talk," Fletcher said. The members gave each girl a bag filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and soap.

The group has provided food for the Barry Court Drug Court golf tournament, and it has participated and won different Cassville Chili Cook-offs. Angels Anonymous also supports Share Your Christmas.

"It's a sisterhood of getting together with friends, and we help each other," Fletcher said. "If someone has surgery, we help take food over.

"If any of the group needs help in any way, we have a calling chain, and we get a hold of each other. We're right there to help. That means a whole lot."

The group meets in a member's house each month. At their meetings, they socialize, cook meals, open gifts and talk about needs in the community. They have also gone on two Caribbean cruises.

Other members of the group include: Roni Gurney, owner of Monkey Business Travel in Shell Knob for 10 years; Robyn Hendricks, co-owner of Jersey's Sports Bar & Grill; Laura Reavis; comptroller at Les Jacobs Ford in Cassville with 32 years of experience in the local automotive industry; Margie Pianalto, who works in the IT Department within Mercy Technology Services and has 28 years of experience at Mercy; Brenda Whitescarver, human resources manager at Friend Tire Co. in Monett; Cathi Primose, who is a Monett Walmart pharmacist and has 41 years of experience as a pharmacist; Darlene Cassity, who retired from banking after 35 years; Susan Fields, owner of J & S Floral Bakery and Gifts in Exeter; Debbie Gatley, owner of Designs by Debbie in Cassville; and Susan Madison, radiology technician with CoxHealth Center Cassville.

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