Starfish Project

Charity Spotlight Starfish Project

Precision Cutting & Coring Charity Spotlight

Summer is a time for moving. College graduates move out of dorms and into their first apartments and the start of their careers. Service members are transferred to new posts or bases. Young couples buy their first home and prepare for a family. In our mobile society it’s estimated that over 40 million people move each year due to jobs—private, military, government—or for personal reasons. Moving is fun! New places, people, sights, sounds, recreation options (“Hey Mom, I can see the beach from my bedroom!”); a new world waits to be explored.

Now imagine that you’re living in a van with your spouse and your five children. You move despite the season, looking for a parking place near public services. You can’t stay long, so you move again. It’s a nomadic existence. Moving is overrated.

Eventually, you connect with a charitable program that finds you your very first house. Soon you won’t be moving. Stationary at last, you park the van in the driveway and open the front door. The empty house echoes with the sound of your children’s running feet. You portion out the few blankets and pillows you have, and your family spends its first night in its new house on the hard floor.

With the coming dawn, there’s a knock on your new door. You open it to see standing on your porch Joni and Tom, co-founders of the Starfish Project. Joni is a diminutive powerhouse of drive and passion. Tom is an expert at coordinating, collecting, and distributing resources. They’re well connected to the non-profit community in greater Kansas City, and were told of your plight by the program that provided the house. Joni, Tom, and a group of volunteers are here to fill your home with furnishings, kitchen equipment, beds: everything to make your new house a home. Joni tells you that she’s also arranged for another group to provide food for you and your family.

Joni does this for one reason: to have a positive impact on the lives of others. She knows she’s succeeded when she sees your youngest, only two, look around at his new house, the only one he’s ever known and that for only a day, with a smile on his face.

Starfish Project exists because Joni has always wanted a job where she could spend every day helping people. Tired of working in private business and not seeing the results she craved, she started the Starfish Project on Facebook as a means to connect non-profits to each other and to the people who need their help. As Joni says, the purpose of the Starfish Project is “to connect lives, resources, and acts of kindness.” i That focus became the mission of the Starfish Project:

Our mission is to be the connector between the community, non-profits, and those in need throughout the Kansas City Metro area. We do this by connecting with non-profits, finding out what resources they are looking for, and going out into the community to help locate those items. Once we have found the donations, we assist with the transport if needed. We work to support all non-profits and inspire the public to Pay It Forward and give back. We are a 501c3 organization and also assist with making monetary contributions tax deductible, when donated to worthy causes.ii

To achieve this, Joni created five goals:

  • To inspire the community to Pay It Forward and find ways to give back.
  • To educate the public on the true needs of the community.
  • To help people and organizations locate and obtain needed resources.
  • Provide transportation of donations when possible.
  • To provide a tax-deductible vehicle for charitable contributions that don’t fall under a 501c3. iii

To achieve these goals, Joni continually networks and volunteers, learns the needs of others, and finds folks and groups who can help meet those needs. Her days are packed with activity; Joni puts in at least 40 to 60 hours per week, transferring donations, volunteering, or, rarely, spending time in her office.

There is no typical day for Joni, and that’s just the way she likes it: “The best part about my days is every day I get to help somebody, but it’s always different. So one day we might be out on the streets feeding the homeless, the next day I’m helping a pet rescue, the next day we’re hauling furniture up to the children’s cancer group.”

Weekends are especially fruitful, as Joni may attend many events to show support, help out, or provide donations. “We try to fill our calendars up with events or ways we can support folks. We can’t do them all, but we try to fill in and do the ones we can. We do as much as we can.”

The network produced by all this activity is the key to the impact of the Starfish Project. The larger the network grows, more people can be helped, more organizations connected, more resources can be shared, and more impact is made. The effect snowballs as others who have seen this model practice it, connecting other groups, families, and resources. The way Joni puts it “the chain reaction is going to be huge. I won’t even see or know what all impacts we’ve made.” Joni’s vision is to replicate this model in cities across America and connect all the Starfish Projects together in order to share resources regionally and nationally.

If you’re interested in helping the Starfish Project grow and have a greater impact, check out their website at If you’re wondering how you can help, Joni has some suggestions:

  • If you unsure about what you can do, contact Starfish Project and they’ll help you figure it out.
  • Starfish Project is always looking for sponsors, and businesses, groups, or individuals who are looking for ways to give back to their community.
  • Helping others does not automatically mean a monetary donation; your time is often the greatest gift you can give.
  • Are you hosting a charitable event and want to make it tax deductible? Starfish Project can help you do so.
  • Starfish Project is a strong believer in paying things forward. It has Pay It Forward cards you can use to pass on your act of kindness to others. To request the cards and see examples of them in action, please visit

i This and all following quotes from an interview with Joni Clark-Moreland on 4/20/16
ii accessed 5/31/16
iii accessed 5/31/16

TNK Childrens Foundation

Charity Spotlight

Precision Cutting & Coring Charity Spotlight

Last Sunday, many people celebrated the Easter Holiday. When we think of this we most likely envision children opening baskets with toys and candy, kids running outside hunting for hidden eggs and finally, entertaining guests and gathering for food and fun times.

If this is what last Sunday was like for you then you’re very fortunate indeed because in reality, while you may have been enjoying yourself - other less fortunate families were grappling with the devastating and stark reality of dealing with the fact that their child is suffering and possibly dying with cancer.

Frequently, when we think in terms of cancer we fail to realize how often this horrific condition occurs in the innocent lives of young and precious children. According to the National Cancer Institute 15,780 kids were diagnosed with cancer in 2014 alone. It’s also incredibly heart-wrenching to know that of those, 1,960 or more than 12% perished.

While we could try to find some solace in the +87% that survived it’s difficult to sustain because the fact is that roughly 3 in 5 of the kids who become declared cancer free via a variety of treatments – will experience long term and severe health effects as a result of the treatments.

At first glance it’s quite obvious that this would have a profound impact on the entire family but take a moment to ponder these additional details:

  • Extreme levels of stress just dealing with the uncertainty
  • Depression and hopelessness while watching the child suffer
  • Economic hardship results from foregoing work to stay with the sick child
  • Daily tasks such as laundry fall behind and pile up because of the needs of the child
  • Emotional trauma for the parents and siblings
  • Siblings which are not sick receive less attention as the focus is on the sick kid

If you’re still reading you surely understand how heart-breaking childhood cancer is and how it can have a devastating impact on any family and this is precisely why we are writing this article. Firstly, we would like to increase awareness and secondly we would like to introduce you to a local Kansas City Charity that is working very hard to make a difference.

TNK Children’s Foundation is based right here in K.C. and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Their focus is on providing much needed support for families whose children are suffering with cancer. While TNK is unable to provide a cure for the diagnosis they are able to make a measurable difference by being there during a time of need.


Some services that TNK provides include but is not limited to:

  • Help with house cleaning chores
  • Help with running local errands
  • Preparation of meals
  • Supplying food and other household items
  • Massage therapy to help with PTSD
  • Sibling-parent activities
  • Family support center

This charity, its core mission and the services it provides are a result of the founders’ Staci Upham-Tubbs and Casey Tubbs own personal experience. In 2001, their oldest son Jakob, was diagnosed with leukemia on his third birthday. The family entered a three-and-a-half-year battle of chemo treatments, followed by more than five years of battling the side effects of those treatments.

One of the things Staci & Casey learned from their journey was that there is insufficient resources available to help local families whose children have cancer - and so, TNK Children’s Foundation was born.

If you would like to help support TNK there are a variety of ways in which you can do that. One option is to donate much needed funding. You can visit and opt to make a recurring monthly donation or a one-time donation as you prefer. All contributions are tax deductible. Other ways you can help include donating needed items or offering to volunteer your time.

Finally, if your child has cancer or if you know of a family whose child has cancer we encourage you to get in touch with TNK to enquire about how they can provide the support you need.