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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Mother to Mother Ministry gets more spacious quarters

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shadae Burton, left, receives the last laundry detergent in Mother to Mother Ministry's supply closet from Ministry Coordinator Wilma Leach.(Loretta George/Tribune)
Mother to Mother Ministry is continuing its important work of ministering to limited income mothers at its new site at 728 Heylman. The organization moved there from the lower level of Memorial Hall downtown.

The move last summer to the house that used to be Fort Scott Youth Home Inc. has been good, Mother to Mother Coordinator Wilma Leach said.

"It's a wonderful building. We are very thankful to be here. We moved here last June or July... We've been settling in," Leach said. "We have far more room."

Donations of baby supplies, children's clothes and cleaning supplies fill almost all of the five bedrooms and the garage of the facility. One room is earmarked to provide counseling and support to victims of domestic violence. The baby supplies include clothing, furniture, over-the-counter medicines, lice treatment kits, formula, diapers, baby wipes and car seats.

"This is our 15th year (in the community). We offer parenting classes, support for mothers (and) some financial support through grants," Leach said.

"We offer parenting classes that teach love and logic. It's offered on an as needed basis, (so it's) convenient for them. Some are court ordered and some just say, 'You know, I think I need a parenting class,'" she said.

"A lot of times, people need someone to talk to, to work a little with them, to be a friend or counselor, whatever they need. I try to talk to everyone who comes in to see how they are doing."

In 2012, Mother to Mother provided counseling to about 206 people, assisted 339 financially, distributed more than 10,000 diapers and provided help to 36 domestic violence victims, according to a year-end ministry review.

Shadae Burton, 24, has benefited from MTMM.

"They have helped me when I've been unable to pay utilities. They've provided clothes for me and my children and cleaning supplies," Burton said.

On Tuesday, Burton was in need of cleaning supplies, which Leach provided.

It was the last laundry detergent that MTMM had in the cleaning supplies closet. "Donations are always needed," Leach said. "We don't ever turn people away."

MTMM handles funds for the Salvation Army for Bourbon County, as well. "Anyone in need, we have them fill out a form for financial needs," Leach said.

"A lot of times, something goes wrong in the family, a crisis. The average family gets $50 in help," Leach said. Events like unemployment, illness, death of a loved one, eviction, moving, theft, family disruption or homelessness are events that warrant the financial help.

That money is provided through the annual Salvation Army bell ringing fundraiser and United Way, she said.

"Sometimes we have other grants that we are able to apply for, that we use."

The facility used to be a youth home, said Ralph Carlson, president of Fort Scott Youth Inc., the building's owners. "Then the state changed their philosophy and have gone to foster care. We maintain it, they just use it."

Leach's goals for the coming year, include "financial support and writing some grants. With the economy like it is, we are seeing more people. So our need will be more. We go day by day," Leach said.

She has seen some results of the ministry. "I've seen girls who started out, but now don't come as often because of jobs and being more self-sufficient," Leach said.

She will also continue to encourage the women who come to MTMM along life's way. "There's a lot of people that didn't graduate from high school. We encourage them to get their GED at Fort Scott Community College and go on (in their education). Our college is a wonderful resource for education. We are very fortunate to have our community college," she said.

Mother to Mother Ministry may be reached at 223-9982.

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