Mission Hope is changing lives

Rebecca Lancaster volunteers in the Mission Hope store.

Hope is at the core of everything they do.

Mission Hope in Winona has recently moved to a new location – a larger building to share the hope of Jesus Christ while providing hope and help to families in need in Carroll and Montgomery Counties. As of March 1, the program is now located at the old truck stop building at the corner of Highways 51 and 82.

“Much work has been done on the building and there is much to be done,” said Bro. Randy Dees, director of Mission Hope. “Ninety-five percent of the work done has been by volunteers. We invite the public to come visit us and see what we have to offer to the community.”

Dianne Varnes is a Mission Hope volunteer working in the store.

Mission Hope was started in 2006 to help those in need by “Taking the Church to the people,” by the Carroll-Montgomery County Baptist Association. Two days each month, volunteers at Mission Hope distribute food to those who qualify from Carroll and Montgomery counties. The average served each month is 200 families or about 430 people. They also assist with food in an emergency situation.

The program has a shopping area, where anyone may shop for clothing, shoes, house wares, furniture, appliances, baby needs and toys. An average of 180 people shop at Mission Hope per month. They also assist families with store items when losing a home due to fire or natural disaster.

Bro. Randy Dees serves as the director for Mission Hope.

Dees and his wife, Mandy, have been working at Mission Hope since 2008. Volunteers have been generous with their time and energy helping the program flourish in the area.

“We love being able to help people who have fallen on hard times and maybe need to get started back up from a fire or storm,” Dees said.

Volunteers have been a cornerstone of the program from the beginning, and have been instrumental in the recent move.

“Our volunteers are people from the community that come and help do whatever is needed to keep the Mission going,” Dees said.

 “Mission Hope is a great example of the loving and God-fearing people that the City of Winona has to offer,” said Winona Mayor Jerry Flowers. “This ministry offers hope for the citizens of Winona and the surrounding communities that need help. I am so proud to be the mayor of such a loving and giving community.”

Becky Bennett is a Mission Hope volunteer working in the store.

Two additional programs through Mission Hope are designed to help prepare adults for the job search.

Ann Grice began volunteering as an encourager at Mission Hope three years ago. Later, she joined Mandy Dees as an assistant with Christian Woman’s Job Corp (CWJC). She is now an assistant to the director of Mission Hope and Site Coordinator for CWJC. 

Grice said CWJC is committed to providing a Christian context in which women in need are equipped for life skills and job readiness.

“Our goal is to offer hope, education and self-sufficiency to women who are looking for a better way of life.” Grice said.

Bearnadett Braswell and Jane Chaney are Mission Hope volunteers working in the store.

CWJC offers eight week-long fall and spring classes that cover Jobs for Life, Bible Study, Computer and Communication Skills and Money Management. The classes are free to those who choose to attend. 

Grice said the program has a volunteer staff of 25 consisting of co-coordinator and assistant, teachers, Bible Study leaders, mentors, prayer team, advisory council and meal providers. After completion of the classes the student is assigned a mentor for a period of one year.

“Our goal is for the student to leave here with self-confidence, purpose, direction and hope for their future,” Grice said.

“CWJC helps people to fulfill their God-given purpose by providing hope in Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Tim Mims, pastor at First Baptist Church of Winona.

Mission Hope is in the process of launching Christian Men’s Job Corp with Dennis Moen serving as the site coordinator.

Charles Haggerty and Lawrence Braswell have been volunteering at Mission Hope — helping to relocate the ministry.

As part of CWJC, Mission Hope provides a Literacy Mission Workshop, offering training in Adult Reading and Writing and tutoring for children and youth. This program trains the teachers and tutors to become more proficient in reaching those in need of the services at Mission Hope.

Other seasonal Mission Hope programs include a Christmas program and toy giveaway in December; a “Baby Shower” in April to provide supplies for new mothers in need; Vacation Bible School in July; and Back To School Uniforms and Supplies in August.

For more information about Mission Hope, contact the Carroll-Montgomery Baptist Association at (662) 283-4172.

Lanny Lancaster and Henry Allen Dunn help to prepare the building for Mission Hope to expand their ministry.


 This story was featured in the March 16, 2017 edition of The Winona Times and The Conservative.






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