Mississippi College Efforts Support Mustard Seed
For many years, Mississippi College’s family supported the Mustard Seed ministry as volunteers and with their donations.
With the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically reducing Mustard Seed support in 2020, MC Community Service Center director Shari Barnes recently launched a campaign to assist the non-profit in Rankin County.
MC students, faculty, and staff are asked to provide clothing, blankets, DVD movies for children, stuffed animals, and kids’ books. Mustard Seed seeks to meet the needs of 22 women and 16 men with developmental disabilities on its Brandon campus.
“Thank you for all your help making Christmas so special for so many,” Barnes said in a November email to students and employees at the Christian university.
This month, MC stakeholders successfully completed an Angel Tree campaign to treat the children of Mississippi prisoners to Christmas gifts. Now it’s time to pivot to serve Mustard Seed, school officials say.
From winter gloves to hats, socks, blankets, and kids’ items, needs are great for Mustard Seed. It’s true with many non-profits nationwide in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contributions to many worthy causes have taken big hits during the health emergency, with more than 12 million Americans still unemployed.
The Mississippi College community is familiar with Mustard Seed. Many MC graduates have worked there or served as volunteers.
Mississippi College graduate Mandy Jones Sisson is Mustard Seed’s community relations director.
“We have been able to thrive and enrich the lives of our Seedsters because of people who believe in our Christian ministry and the extraordinary individuals we serve,” Sisson said. “We are grateful for every donation we receive, especially this time of year.”
Support comes from foundations, churches, businesses, and individuals. No dollars are from state or federal sources.
All 40 Seedsters participate in the ceramic arts program on the campus at 1085 Luckney Road. The men and women craft art pieces on sale in the Mustard Seed gift shop. For every $7 it takes to run Mustard Seed, $1 comes from gift shop revenues. The gift shop is open Monday through Friday ( 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.) and most Saturdays (10 a.m. through 3 p.m.) this holiday season.
Gift shop items make for wonderful Christmas presents. “The artist’s name is on the bottom of each piece, and you will be blown away by their talent,” Sisson said.
During the pandemic, Mustard Seed staffers canceled many fundraising events and other activities, attracting the public to campus.
So the extra support coming from MC social tribes, other students and staff, plus donations from other Mississippians are especially welcome, Mustard Seed leaders say. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in March, the non-profit averaged 250 volunteers per month from Mississippi communities. The numbers plunged a great deal since the pandemic began in March.
“We will overcome this just like we have overcome so many obstacles over the last 39 years,” Sisson said. “We appreciate your prayers and support.”
A 2006 Mississippi College communications/public relations graduate, the Mustard Seed administrator is well-known in Blue & Gold family circles. Mandy is the daughter of MC Athletic Director Mike Jones. He also serves as the men’s head basketball coach for the Choctaws. She’s among several MC graduates working at Mustard Seed.