What do you need to keep in an Emergency Kit?

Spring is the time of year when we start to think about severe weather and worry about what we would need to do in case of a tornado or other severe weather issues. Do you have an emergency kit in your house that would keep you going until emergency services could get to you or until utility services would be operational again?  Read about preparation details here.

What do you need to keep in an emergency kit? FEMA recommends the following:

Consider having 2 kits: one for everything you’d need in order to stay where you are and make it on your own for a period of time, such as a couple of days worth of clothing, decent walking shoes, medications etc.

The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to leave your home.
Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days for drinking and sanitation;
Food, at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener if kit contains canned food;
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both;
Flashlight and extra batteries;
First aid kit;
Whistle to signal for help;
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place;
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation;
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities;
Local maps;
Pet food, extra water and supplies for your pet or service animal;
Copy of prescriptions, copy of ID and other important documents.

Emergency kits should be checked at least twice a year, so try to co-ordinate that with Daylight Savings Time changes.  Once you have a kit put together, it is easy to keep it up to date.

Adaptive Technology

Technology is a wonderful invention and we are fortunate to be living in the 21st century where so much is available to us.

With the advent of talking products, people who are blind are able to become more independent and self-reliant. The downside of this technology is that it is very expensive and sometimes involves quite a learning curve.  A couple of items that are very popular with our clients and members are:

Atomic Clock: This is a talking clock that will speak the time, the date, the inside temperature and the outside temperature.  The outside temperature is controlled by a small square block that you can fix securely outside within a short distance from the clock itself.  Make sure it’s not in direct sunlight and away from a place where it could be blown away or get wet.  You can set it to speak the time every hour on the hour or switch that feature off.  Being atomic, that means that you will never have to set it for daylight savings time and back to standard time.  It will set automatically.  The only thing you’ll have to do is set your time zone and the clock will talk you through that.  Tip from the Service Club:  when it’s time to replace the batteries in either the clock or the outside block, we recommend that you replace everything at the same time.  For some reason the clock works better that way.

Atomic Watch:  This follows the same idea as the Atomic Clock except it does not announce anything to do with the temperature.  It will set itself for Daylight Savings time and back to Standard time and will announce the date, time and it has an alarm.  There are various options for the watch ie. leather or expansion band, black or white face with either black or white numbers, chrome or gold plated surround.  These are unisex watches, slightly bulky but keep perfect time.

Braille Playing Cards: This is a regular sized deck of cards with standard print pictures and lettering, but it has Braille on 2 corners (diagonally from each other) with, for example “2 h” meaning 2 of hearts.  Many various card games are available in Braille.

Bump Dots: these are plastic or rubber raised dots that stick on surfaces to help people find numbers on keypads and various other things.  Common uses for bump dots are on washing machines, tumble dryers, microwaves, computer keyboards, phones, TV controls, refrigerator water/ice dispensers and many more.  They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  These are cheap and have a lot of uses.

These items are our biggest sellers.  Please contact the Service Club if you’d like to purchase any items.


Price Slashing Sale

The Service Club for the Blind will be holding an all-time, price-slashing, once-in-a-lifetime sale on some of our older items.   All products will be sold “as is” and are non-returnable/non-refundable.

Items for sale will be remnants of our past!  They are left over from various Christmas sales, items that were purchased before some of us started working here and some items that are not necessarily old, but didn’t sell very well at the time of purchase.

We will also have some audio cassettes that we are giving away for free (no CD’s – just cassettes) as well as parts of the Bible in Braille and some religious teachings on audio cassette.

There are some household items such as wine glasses and salt and pepper shakers for sale, some robes, and a very small amount of clothing.

We have some Valentine’s Day toys, some Thanksgiving and Halloween items, some Spring and Summer outdoors items, bird feeders, wind chimes etc.

We also have dust mops, mini and regular sized brooms for sale.  There are ornaments, musical figurines, candles and candle holders and some fancy various holiday motif tea light holders that are pretty, but quite fragile.  Some have never been opened.

This sale will occur on Tuesday May 29th, Wednesday May 30th and Thursday May 31st from  9am – noon each day.

Historic Timeline of the Service Club for the Blind

Historic Timeline of the Service Club for the Blind

March 28, 1934 – Service Club for the Blind was founded by Adeline Ann Ruenzi

  • In 1927, Miss Ruenzi developed the tactile writing aluminum script because she was anxious for her pupils to learn the use of penmanship – this is still in use throughout the world.
  • In 1929, Miss Ruenzi helped organize a radio fund for the blind which was eventually run through the Service Club.
  • In 1934 the Cultural and Service Club for the Blind was formed and Adeline Ruenzi elected President.
  • Treasury had $4 in its fund.
  • The Club’s first home was in the building occupied by the Henry L. Wolfner Memorial Library for the Blind at 3844 Olive Street (now an historic building), but because the ground floor was not available the blind could not display articles for sale that were made in home to passersby.
  • The Club then moved to a ground floor building at 4312 Olive Street which had a display window that could be seen from the sidewalk.
  • In 1940 the name of the Cultural and Service Club for the Blind Incorporated was changed to Service Club for the Blind, Incorporated and the fiscal year which had been from April 1st to March 31st was changed to October 1st to September 30th.
  • In 1940, the Service Club for the Blind added the White Cane Service to its Objectives and took over the responsibility of the white canes, sponsored by the Lions and the Kiwanis Clubs. White Canes were distributed to the blind throughout St. Louis, St. Louis County and to rural districts upon request.  The Service Club for the Blind was the only organization in the state giving White Cane Service to the blind.  The cost of the White Cane is approximately 65c a piece. From 1946 to 1959 the Service Club for the Blind has assumed the full responsibility of the White Cane Service.  The cost of White Canes is approximately $1.75 apiece. (Today in 2018 The Service Club sells its white canes for $17.50 for a 4-section cane and $20.50 for a 6 section cane)
  • On October 16th 1947, Miss Ruenzi formed the Carver League for the Negro Blind, a recreational club, housed in the Wolfner building.
  • In 1957 after extensive renovating on the Club building, and two weeks before they were to hold an open house, a tornado came through St. Louis and tore the roof off.
  • One year later in 1958 the building became victim of an electrical fire which was related to the tornado damage the previous year.

1971 – Lillian Dunn became President

• Lillian Dunn was Acting President from October 12, 1971 to June 10 1971 when she became President, after the resignation and subsequent death of Adeline Ruenzi.
• She passed away on  January 27, 1976 while still in office.

February 4, 1976 – Fred Keller became President

• Joined the Board October 1972 as 1st Vice-President January 9, 1973.
• February 7 1994 – the Service Club moved to 3719 Watson Rd. (formally Mardel Hardware Store) due to the neighborhood around Olive St. becoming dangerous.
• Joined the Carver League with the Service Club.
• Abolished the fundraiser program as the Service Club was spending more money on it than raising money.

2003 – Kathleen Demsky became President

• Approved for membership on October 12, 1972;
• Introduced gift cards for our clients;
• Introduced grant programs for the purchase of adaptive technology and major medical benefits, and person of the month;
• 2012 – 2-month major renovation of the inside of the building allowing for more social functions.
• Retired September 30, 2016.

October 1, 2016 – Jack Lenk became President

• 2017 – New roof and new refrigerator.
• Introduction of the “Coffee with the President” program.
• Reinstated the Annual Appeal.

Happy Birthday Service Club

On Wednesday March 28th 2018, the Service Club for the Blind celebrates its 84th birthday!

We recently found some old documents dating back to the early days of the Service Club and discovered that it was quite an icon at its inception, creating a lot of opportunities and interaction for people who were blind during the 1940’s on-wards.  Read more about Our History

The founder, Adeline Ann Ruenzi, was a very influential person who spent a lot of time fundraising and networking with people able to provide the Service Club with funding.  She was a former Supervisor of the Home Teaching Department of the Missouri Commission for the Blind.


The early  emblem and motto of the Service Club for the Blind:  The emblem being a hand holding a lit torch and the motto being the 3 monkeys – speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil.

One of the most outstanding services to the blind population of St. Louis, Missouri was given by Dr. Meyer Wiener when he initiated the idea of the Henry L. Wolfner Memorial Library for the Blind.  Dr. Wiener became an Honorary Associate President of the Service Club for the Blind.

In 1939 a need was created for the Service Club for the Blind to operate as a service agency because the Missouri Commission for the Blind discontinued all its departments.  Therefore, headquarters were established in the building of the Henry L. Wolfner Library, sponsored by Dr. Meyer Wiener.

The Service Club for the Blind ran a radio program where radios were provided and serviced for free.  It was called the Adeline Ruenzi Radio Fund.  Over 700 people were given radios.

From 1940 – 1959, the Service Club for the Blind added the White Cane Service to its Objectives and took over the responsibility of the distribution of white canes, sponsored by the Lions and the Kiwanis Clubs.  White Canes were distributed to the blind throughout St. Louis, St. Louis County and to rural districts upon request.  The Service Club for the Blind was the only organization in the state giving White Cane Service to the blind.  The cost of the White Cane was approximately 65c a piece!

This is the 2nd office that the Service Club occupied.  It was on the ground floor of Olive Boulevard with a large front window that could showcase all the products that the members of the Service Club made in order to sell them.

Some of the items made by the members were aprons, bags, baby bibs, bath mats, crocheted articles, dish cloths, dolls, dust cloths, wash cloths, hot plate sets, leather articles, pot holders, rugs, towels and miscellaneous articles.

The Service Club continues to help its members and clients and thanks to a more modern and digital world, we’re able to reach a larger area in shorter time.  If you’d like to make a donation to the Service Club and thereby contribute to meeting the needs of people who are blind we’d welcome any assistance you could offer.

The Service Club for the Blind is located at:
3719 Watson Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63109



“The Tree”

Around 12th Night, when the Christmas tree is traditionally supposed to be put away for the season, we didn’t languish the idea of trying to fit it back into the box it arrived in. I really don’t think it’s possible to re-box items once they’ve been removed. I think it’s a ploy of the big box stores to ensure you can’t return it! To avoid packing it away we decided to re-purpose it!

We have been artfully creative and decorated “The Tree” (as it’s now referred to) for each holiday and event. We are open to suggestions too! Once the Christmas decorations were packed away we turned it into a Valentine’s Day tree, then came Mardi Gras, then St. Patrick’s Day, then of course, Easter and for our latest pièce de resistance, the Cardinals!

Other plans are to represent summer, Memorial/Labor Day, then autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving and back to Christmas. What are we missing? Do you have items that are theme related and “tree hangable” that you’d like to donate to us? We’d be happy to take them off your hands.

Valentine’s Day tree

Mardi Gras tree

St. Patrick’s Day tree

Easter tree

Cardinal’s tree

Spring Planting

Every year around this time, my heart pulls towards the re-birth of my garden. I’m a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to seeds and I start scrutinizing my 127 (!) packets of seeds and plan my spring garden. My love for sprouting things gives me great joy. I check on my seeds a couple of times a day just in case I missed something.

Celita and I ran down to Home Depot and picked up some herbs and flowers for the pots outside the office and then got them planted. Now we hope for rain! This year we decided to specialize in herbs. We have Greek Oregano, Dill, Sage, Sweet Basil, Lemon Thyme and Lavender, as well as a few other flowers for some color. We’re hoping for a smelling fest of summer herbs this year. We will be happy to give you a few leaves if you’ll plan on using them for cooking!

Our office neighborhood, Lindenwood Park, holds an annual “Lawn and Garden” contest every June and there is always a special mention for businesses that beautify their building. The Service Club is proud of the fact that we usually receive a special mention every year for our hard work. If only there was a contest for keeping a Christmas tree decorated all year with various themes! We’d win that hands down! If you haven’t seen our latest design, come and visit us at the office and check it out.

These are flowers in pots on the side of the building and over a walking hazard in the front of the building.


These are the herbs we planted in pots under our sign.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you from the Service Club for the Blind! We trust it will be a year of good health, happiness and prosperity for you. 2017 is sure to be a year of interesting happenings!

I am often fascinated by various New Year traditions and how people celebrate. Just within the United States alone there are many different ways people see in the New Year and the foods they prepare on New Year’s Day. Many celebrations involve parties with friends and loved ones, food and traditionally at midnight, champagne. New Year’s resolutions form a high point of the New Year. The top resolutions are: dieting, exercising and curbing bad habits.

If you want to subscribe to superstition, don’t let anything leave the house on New Year’s, except for people. Tradition says: don’t take out the trash and leave anything you want to take out of the house on New Year’s outside the night before. If you must remove something, make sure to replace it by bringing an item into the house. These policies of balance apply in other areas as well—avoiding paying bills, breaking anything, or shedding tears.

Some foods considered “lucky” to eat during the festivities include: Circular shaped foods, Black-eyed peas, Cabbage (or collard greens), Pork.

The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the New Year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scottish tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.”

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine†;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


Whatever your traditions, we trust you enjoyed your festivities and will “take a cup of kindness” and be sure to pass it on.

Happy New Year!

(click on the link below and scroll down to listen to the song Auld Lang Syne)


Meet the Board of Directors

Jesuita Tabor, President


Lincoln University Graduate BSE Bachelor of Science and Education Masters in Guidance and Counseling

Saint Louis Public School-Teacher
Lifetime Teaching Certificate
Federal Parole Officer- Certified Narcotics

Board Member Missouri Council of the Blind, President Tower Club for the Blind, Board Member Inner City Christian Church, Board Member College Hill Affordable Housing, Graduate Coro Foundation, Member Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Member COGIC, Member Lincoln University Alumni St Louis Chapter, Member of Service Club for the Blind for over 18 years.

To enhance the lives of others by providing support programs and social events.

Bettina Vinson, 1st Vice President


I am a person with a disability and I am considered legally blind or Low vision. I lost part of my sight when I was 11 years old due to the Measles virus. I have Macular Retinitis, damage to my central vision. My vision is not correctable with any type of lenses or surgery. I am unable to drive or see small print. I use Zoomtext software with speech to do my job and navigate the computer. I also use Siri and voice over on my iPhone and a CCTV to read printed documents.

I was Director of Community Outreach for the Starkloff Disability Institute and worked for SDI for 3 years. Prior to this position I worked for the State of MO for 14 years.

I have been a member of the Service Club since 2004. The Service Club is a wonderful organization with a long history of truly assisting the Blind and low vision community. My goal as a board member is to protect the integrity and history of the Service club. I want the Service Club to be a community of inclusion and a welcoming place to all its members, clients, volunteers, staff and board. I promise to do my very best to uphold this belief.

Judy Burch, Secretary


I was honored to be asked to serve on the board of the Service Club for the Blind.    I have been a member of the Service Club for several years and respect the work of this organization.  Having worked as a rehabilitation teacher for many years, I have seen blind people who were in great need helped by the Service Club.  Since I have joined as a member, I have enjoyed a number of its social activities.

My main goal in serving on the board is to see the Service Club continue to provide social and educational programs for its members and also to continue its work for the clients who can benefit from services.

Currently, I serve on the boards of the Friends of Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library and the United Workers for the Blind.  I have served on the Missouri Council of the Blind board in the past and also the board of the Braille Revival League of Missouri.

Celita White, Treasurer


I started my association with blind organizations back in the early 1980’s. I met with Darrel Lauer when the first beeper ball team in St. Louis was organized. In 1985 I married Sam White who is visually impaired and was a member of the RITE affiliate of the Missouri Council of the Blind.  I also joined RITE but later we left to go to UWB, United Workers for the Blind.

I served on the Board as Treasurer for both the organization and for the apartment building owned by the members of UWB. I have served several terms on the Executive Board as Treasurer for the Missouri Council of the Blind as well as on the Summer Camp Committee, Adaptive Technology Committee, Building Committee, Public Relations Committee, and Convention Committee.

In 2010 I was asked to serve as Treasurer for the Service Club for the Blind and became an employee in 2012.  It is a pleasure and a privilege working for the members and clients.

Linda Kinkelar


I have been part of the Service Club for the Blind family since I was a little girl, still in school. My parents were both members as well.

I currently serve as president of the Alumni Association of the Missouri School for the Blind. I have also been on several different boards, of different groups. I am also currently serving on the board of United Workers for the Blind.  I am new to being on the board of the Service Club, but I have been a part of that family for many years.

As a board member, I will do my best to hold up and support what the Service Club stands for, and represents. I am willing to learn, and become even more active in whatever is asked of me. Thank you for allowing me this privilege of serving on this board, and I will do my best to represent everyone.

Happy Birthday Reading Ring!

With all the changes going on at the Service Club I forgot to upload my blog about the Book Club!

September 16th was the 7th birthday of the Service Club’s book club – affectionately known as the Reading Ring. Over the years we’ve had a few changes of members, changed the day of meetings and changed the way we run the book club meeting.

Currently we choose an author and not a particular book. We have over 1,700 audible books in our library. All books were kindly donated to our library – some are in better condition than others, most are on tape but some are CD’s too. We share our thoughts about the author and a little about the book we read and then, like at most book clubs, we eat!

The way we choose authors is that we all submit a couple of names of either our favourite authors or an author we’d be interested in reading. We put the names in a basket and randomly pick one after each meeting. We then have a month to read any book in any format (print, large print, Braille, audio). Most patrons choose to download their book of choice from the Wolfner Library or from their local library.

For our 7th birthday party, our author of choice was Kimberla Lawson Roby. I surprised the group and ordered a birthday cake for our “after meeting delicacy” and it was well received. I also decorated the area where we hold Book Club with birthday-themed tablecloths, balloons, and party hats.

Our Book Club meetings are held at the Service Club every 4th Wednesday of the month from 10am – 12pm.

Happy reading (and pretend this blog was posted in September…)!

book-club-birthday-cake-2016  There’s always food!

book-club-birthday-party-1  Tables & decorations

book-club-birthday-4  Book Club members

book-club-birthday-3  Waiting for Book Club

book-club-birthday-2  More decorations