Most people in the Mooresville area have heard of The Christian Mission, but how many people really know about the positive influence of this benevolent organization?
On August 25, my husband and I attended the Christian Mission Open House (celebrating 83 years of service to the community.) Although I was in the building, located at 266 N. Board St. in Mooresville , many times in the past, I had actually never been inside.
Roger and I were greeted at the door and assigned a personal guide (Dana Skidmore) to show us around the facility. We quickly discovered that The Christian Mission is not just a pantry providing the needy with a band aid for a temporary solution.
“It’s a crisis center for individuals and families to seek help with financial hardship, food insecurity and self-improvement,” says Diane Smith, NETworX program coordinator. Apparently there is so much more than meets the eye. “The goal is to lift those in need out of poverty – to teach them to become financially, emotionally and spiritually independent.” It is the mission’s hope that by educating the individual and families, the cycle of generational poverty will be broken.
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There are four distinct sections in The Christian Mission – food, clothing, home accessories and education – all designed to help individuals and families in need.
Four steps to help people get out of poverty
The first need of every human being is food. Pantry worker Victoria Clifton explains TEFAP (Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program)
“No one in Mooresville goes hungry, and we make sure nutritional needs are met,” Clifton says. TEFAP helps people in the first step of the journey out of poverty. As the old saying goes… “We don’t just give them a fish,” says Clifton. “We teach them to fish.
Food never goes to waste at the mission. If items reach “past personal life”, those items are sent to a local animal sanctuary. Periodically there is a shortage of certain items. Currently the mission needs dried pasta and pasta sauce. These are two of the staple foods to provide nutritious meals. Donations are always appreciated.
The second step is clothing.
These lightly worn garments help the individual return to work with a professional-looking outfit that gives them confidence and the desire to succeed.
This section of The Christian Mission is inviting, pleasing to the eye and has a good variety to offer men and women in a wide range of sizes. In addition, there are clothes for babies, toddlers and teenagers.
The third step is home furnishings and accessories.
The building isn’t big enough to accommodate a lot of furniture, but there is a nice assortment available. In addition, there are blankets, bedding, towels, dishes and kitchen utensils that allow the individual to have a clean and comfortable home.
The fourth step is education.
“We meet people where they are and love them as they are.” This is a universal motto at The Christian Mission. They partner with local churches, businesses, leaders, donors and volunteers to help and serve more than 4,000 people each year. Their mission is “to provide resources, skills, education and services to individuals and families to alleviate suffering and reduce the rate of poverty in our region”.
Once food, clothing and basic necessities are met, education becomes the goal to break the cycle of poverty. Christian Mission partners with NETworX (https://www.networxusa.org/) and teaches individuals the life skills needed to succeed. Each person is matched with a peer support system and receives financial literacy training, budgeting skills, life/social skills, job readiness training, job search training and assistance with resume writing.
“Christian mission is a catalyst that enables the community to become advocates and serve those in need to improve their quality of life. We engage the community to recognize and remove barriers and challenge society’s perception of poverty,” said Diane Smith, NETworX Program Coordinator.
How can I help?
To run The Christian Mission successfully, it takes an “army” of volunteers. In addition to employees, it is necessary to have 8 to 15 volunteers a day working as a team towards the ultimate goal.
Would you like to be part of this life-changing organization? Remember the words of Aesop: “No act of kindness is ever wasted.” There are many ways to volunteer.
Donations are collected at the loading area from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. These must-have “treasures” are sorted by volunteers and organized into three categories — food, clothing and home accessories — before being displayed.
Grocery Pickup volunteers pick up food from designated grocery stores and deliver the produce to the mission. (Job requirements: SUV or pickup truck, punctuality, friendly disposition and driver’s license.)
Pantry volunteers are needed Tuesday through Friday for three shifts: 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. years and older can volunteer with a parent if the child is able to help for the full shift Closed shoes are required Stock shelves, assist customers and clean up area This is a fantastic way for teens to earn hours of service and learn valuable life lessons.
Resource Store volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. (Job requirements: must be friendly and outgoing. Assist customers with items, check them into system, hang and sort items, and keep area tidy and clean. If you have ever used a self-checkout at the grocery store, you qualify. Resource Store shifts are Tuesdays: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon.
The Senior Companion is a great way to connect with seniors in need by developing a relationship with the person, shopping in the mission pantry, and delivering groceries to their homes.
Give Back Boutique is a wonderful way to donate your time. This elegant consignment store is located at 478 Williamson Road Suite D (behind the building). Their motto is “Fashion on a mission”. Not only is it a lovely place to shop for great clothes at great prices, but the proceeds go directly to The Christian Mission.
“The purpose of our open house is to celebrate the blessing of longevity that can only be accomplished through the love, prayers and support of our donors,” Smith explains. “We want to provide more visibility not only to our faith partners, but also to the community of the services we provide. We call August our Month of Gifts of Love and Dignity (GLAD) and we have the intention to continue our open house event every year.”
Christian Mission’s next event is the annual Turkey Trot – a fun 5K race held on Thanksgiving Day. This year will mark the 12th anniversary of this major mission fundraiser – a truly fabulous way to help the needy, engage with others, be active and have fun all at the same time. (If you would like to participate, a link to register will be available on The Christian Mission’s website in mid-October.)
“Whether you are a client, a volunteer, a donor or a member of the community, The Christian Mission welcomes you with open arms! Often people who have been lifted out of poverty through the mission have returned to volunteer in the place that helped them lead successful lives. What an exceptional way to “pay back” and “pay back” at the same time.
If you have questions about volunteering, contact Ann Pardue, Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected]
Tesa Jones is an author, blogger and photographer.