By DUNCAN DENT
A Madison mother raising three children said “the bottom fell out” last summer and she turned to a church for assistance.
“They were just so helpful and accepting and supportive,” said the woman who asked to remain anonymous for this story. “But the main thing was the acceptance.”
Every Tuesday morning the Resource Center at Ridgeland’s Trace Ridge Church off of Lake Harbor Dive opens its doors and offers food, clothing, household items and prayer to the those like the Madison mother.
“The only thing we don’t have is high-heel shoes or bathing suits,” Christy Street, an organizer of the Resource Center said. “Nobody wants to need things and we have nice things to give away.”
Street said the center started in 2018 when she and some of her friends at the church organized a small clothing drive to set up a small boutique for girls in the community to come and pick out some nice clothes. Since then it has exploded to offering essential items to dozens of households.
Street said each Tuesday they open their doors to a line of roughly 100 people and they see old and new faces every week.
Thomas Dent, a center volunteer, said in early June they had given away more than 1,000 food packages, 200 beds, and around 200 sets of bedding so far this year.
“The mission of The Resource Center is to provide food, clothing, and beds for children in the Mississippi foster care system and families experiencing a crisis,” Dent said. “The vision of The Resource Center is for every child to be sleeping in their own bed, have clothes that fit, and access to food every day.”
In 2020, members of the church built a shed on the property to accommodate the influx of donations. The church also has a drop-off spot in the back of the building that volunteers monitor and sort through as often as daily.
Street said at the moment they have about 10 or 15 regular volunteers who either operate the Resource center or help sort clothes, transport furniture or help in other ways. Street attributed the growth of the center to one thing.
“We know it’s God,” Street said. “We didn’t do this. People drive in from all over because you just don’t find free.”
She said they have always had a food pantry but have recently been able to expand their offerings thanks to contributions from the Mississippi Food Network.
Street said that they see a lot of mothers and grandmothers but the thing all those they help share is that they are experiencing a rough season in life and need assistance.
“True poverty is when you have nobody,” Street. said.
One woman was so taken by the generosity shown at the center that when she was asked for prayer requests she said “world peace.”
Elaine Williams from Rankin County said she heard about the center from a friend. She was able to go one morning and get clothes and some food for her family.
“I thank God for this place,” she said.
The Madison mother said that the love of Christ is “so vibrant” from volunteers at the center and the “energy is uplifting.”
“They are just over the top amazing,” she said.
The center is open every Tuesday from 9 am to 11 am and the third Saturday of the month from 9 am to 11 am and is located at Trace Ridge Church, 238 Lake Harbor Drive, Ridgeland, MS 39157.
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