The staff and volunteers working at Mission Marshall work together to meet the needs of communities in Harrison and Marion County, through the dignity and love of Christ.
“Our mission statement is ‘Love in the Name of Christ,'” said Executive Director Misty Scott. “What this means to us is that we observe a need in our community and respond to that need as equals, serving with dignity, honor and kindness.”
The non-profit organization is well known in the community for its food pantry, through which it serves around 800 households per month and brings food to the tables of around 2,400 people.
“Food insecurity is a significant need in the Harrison and Marion County areas, but it’s not something we understood. Local churches have recognized this need and have been working to meet it for 30 years,” Scott said.
She explained that when a community member faces food insecurity, upward mobility, job search, continuing education and other potential goals to set become even impossible to envision.
“When you’re hungry, you don’t think of anything else except that you’re hungry,” Scott said.
The food pantry not only provides community members with resources to meet their needs, but it also provides a grocery store-like setting, offering a wide range of food options for customers to choose from. Volunteers keep the pantry stocked and help customers find what they want.
Community members can even order online for the pantry, offering COVID-19 safe shopping before picking up items from the pantry.
“We serve a lot of single mothers and a lot of seniors, and they’re people who have worked their whole lives for other people, so it’s a blessing to help give back to them,” she said.
The association also offers monthly food distributions in Woodlawn and year-round food distributions in Crossroads.
However, the pantry isn’t the only resource Mission Marshall offers, with Scott explaining that his personal favorite program is the third-grade Read to Ride program that the mission runs in conjunction with Marshall ISD.
“Studies show that you can look at the reading levels of third graders and you can predict high school graduation rates from there quite consistently,” Scott said, “That’s because that third grade is the last year that you are taught to read, and the rest of the classes that teachers are supposed to take with the comprehension that you can read. So the students start to fall behind, and they keep falling behind late.
To help meet this need, Mission Marshall is giving away a new bike and helmet to any third-grade student who enrolls in the program and completes the year’s reading challenge.
“This is our fifth year with the program, and the data has shown improvements; our students used to read at an average first-grade level, and now they’re reading at a third-grade level,” Scott said.
In addition to the annual Read to Ride program, the nonprofit is also part of the Imagination Library, through which preschoolers can receive books in the mail until they start school.
The non-profit organization also offers small libraries in city parks to allow young readers to have continued access to books.
Scott said throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit has never seen a drop in support from community members.
“We’re very lucky here, the people of Marshall are so generous, we haven’t felt the same drop in support as our sister missions,” Scott said.
However, the rise of the COVID-19 virus has seen a spike in need for the communities served by the mission, according to Scott, and this has provided fewer opportunities for volunteers to come forward and volunteer their time to help the organization’s staff. non-profit.
“We have a lot of church groups that were sending a lot of their elderly members, but with COVID a lot of those people now have to stay home to be safe, so we need more people in our facility,” said Scott.
She said Mission Marshall currently needs volunteers to help with the front of the office, helping community members connect and organize information, as well as volunteers to help with the pantry, restock shelves and help customers get the items they need. .
Anyone interested in learning more about Mission Marshall or volunteering with the organization can do so at its website www.missionmarshall.org.