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Midwest Mission opens Iowa location

ribbon cutting

Over 200 people attended the opening of Midwest Mission’s second campus in Jefferson, IA, including Iowa Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai.

On Saturday, June 17, 2023, Midwest Mission officially opened its doors to a second location with a grand opening at the new campus in Jefferson, IA.

Founded in 2000, Midwest Mission was commissioned by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference with $100,000 in seed money. The purpose was to create a place where needed resources could be brought together and sent to those in crisis to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Since then, Midwest Mission has grown and now works closely with all of the annual conferences in the North Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, including the Michigan Conference, and is a veteran UMCOR partner. (Read this recent story from the 2023 Michigan Annual Conference, where 5,000 rice meal packs were assembled for hunger relief.)

God was working in and through Midwest Mission to create the Iowa location. God sped up the timeline, and within six months of what was supposed to be the start of a feasibility study period, God put the right people in place, and the doors were opened to the new facility.

sleeping mat loom
How many plastic bags does it take to make a sleeping bag mat? 481 plastic bags. One of Midwest Mission’s ongoing projects is making sleeping mats out of plarn, plastic yarn made out of plastic grocery bags. Sleeping mats are sent internationally and locally. They are great for those who need a barrier between them and the hard ground. They have been sent for disaster relief, for the homeless, and for those who need temporary sleeping arrangements. ~ photo courtesy Midwest Mission/Facebook

Danille Curtis, Midwest Mission’s Iowa Coordinator, was instrumental in making this happen. She has been on staff since 2020 and felt God’s call to make a home for Midwest Mission in Iowa. What began as a permanent collection site at Jefferson: First UMC evolved into hosting volunteer days. Finally, God led her and the rest of the staff to open a branch of Midwest Mission in Iowa.

The ribbon cutting event, held by Jefferson Matters, commenced the grand opening.

Midwest Mission was grateful for the presence of Iowa Bishop Kennetha Bigham-Tsai and Rev. William Poland, Assistant to the Bishop, at the grand opening. Bishop Kennetha shared a beautiful sentiment about how the Holy Spirit works through the ministry of Midwest Mission, saying, “The Holy Spirit did the feasibility study.”

people talking
Chantel Corrie (center), Midwest Mission Executive Director, talks to guests at the June 17 grand opening event in Jefferson, IA. ~ photo courtesy Midwest Mission/Facebook.

Chantel Corrie, Midwest Mission Executive Director, spoke to those in attendance about how the Iowa location came to be and extended gratitude to all those who made it possible. The hard work of volunteer leaders Brett and Kristi Ahrens and Bill and Connie Ridgley, Iowa board member Alaire Willits, and Danille Curtis, her husband Kent, and their daughters Hannah and Grace opened the doors to Midwest Mission in Iowa. Chantel and the team were also grateful to the Greene County Development Committee for their excitement, encouragement, and support in making Jefferson, IA, Midwest Mission’s second home.

As the time came to cut the ribbon, Bishop Kennetha stood side by side with Danille, and together they cut the ribbon, officially opening Midwest Mission Iowa.

Over 200 people came to the grand opening event. They toured the Jefferson facility, learned about making plastic sleeping mats out of grocery bags using looms, assembled rice meal packs, shopped at Midwest Mission Gifts (a gift shop with faith-based gifts and fair-trade items), learned about serving opportunities with Midwest Mission, and celebrated the work God is doing in and through Midwest Mission.

gift shop
Midwest Mission Iowa has a gift shop that sells faith-based gifts, Midwest Mission apparel, and fair-trade items. ~ photo courtesy Midwest Mission/Facebook

The Jefferson location will take in donations, make Midwest Mission kits, sleeping mats, and rice meal packs, do sewing projects, and distribute some supplies locally.

Most items will be driven to the Midwest Mission headquarters in Illinois for national and international distribution, working together to live out the ministry’s mission: Bringing the hearts and hands of God’s people together to transform resources into humanitarian relief.

Midwest Mission Iowa is now open for volunteers, just like the Pawnee, IL, location. Volunteer shifts are available Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am to 4 pm. To sign up for a shift, volunteers can visit www.midwestmission.org/iowa.

Midwest Mission Gifts will be open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to noon.

“We just want to say a big thank you to everyone who prayed for this new opportunity, those who dedicated their time, money, and resources, and those who let God continue leading us to this new adventure,” Corrie said. “The Holy Spirit is alive and active in this place. We hope you can join us at one of our locations soon.”

~ Article reprinted and adapted with permission of Midwest Mission from their June 23, 2023, newsletter.

Last Updated on October 31, 2023

The Michigan Conference