Joy Morrison, Director of Iredell Christian Ministries
Iredell Christian Ministries typically delivers between 25-27,000 pounds of food—per month—to families with need in our community. That’s up to 162 tons per year, or the equivalent of three adult male sperm whales.
Trinity collected 1,752 pounds of food in our last Can-Do Food Drive—the largest single food drive by a church in our area
Trinity’s next food drive aims to collect 100 percent of our previous, successful drive—and more.
This interview originally appeared in the October 2014 edition of Trinity Topics. Read the full magazine here.
An Irresistible Call to Serve
Joy Morrison was just getting used to retirement. Then came a job opening at Iredell Christian Ministries.
Since its opening in 2007, Iredell Christian Ministries has served a vital role in our community. The organization, which acts as a community food pantry, counselling and referral service, and source of financial assistance for our area, serves more than 800 families each month.
Joy Morrison, the new director of Iredell Christian Ministries, was a long-time public school teacher and administrator. She served as principal of East Iredell Elementary and two other schools in Davie County before fully retiring from administration in 2013.
You enjoyed a successful career in public education and administration—how did you find yourself accepting the job as Director of ICM?
I began volunteering at ICM shortly after retiring. I volunteered one day per week; more, if they needed me.
When the advertisement seeking a new director for ICM ran in the local paper, my husband brought it to my attention. I put it down and didn’t give it much consideration. I loved retirement! This was the first time in over 30 years I had been able to make my own schedule and do nothing if I really wanted to.
But, something just kept pulling at my heartstrings. ICM is such an amazing place. I had seen, firsthand, the good that happens here every day. So after much prayer and really struggling with myself and God, I picked up the phone and called one of the ICM Board members. I asked if the job was still open, fully expecting them to tell me that it had been filled. I was told to get my resume and letter in by the following day, as the Board was meeting to discuss potential candidates. I got everything turned in, interviewed with the committee, and…Poof! Here I am. Director.
What’s a typical day in your life as director?
The majority of my day is spent speaking with clients, getting their stories of crisis, discussing financial needs, and determining if and how we can best assist that family. I interview potential volunteers and determine where their talents can best be utilized within the organization. Scheduling of volunteers, and monitoring the building and grounds for safety is an important part of my day.
Meeting with business owners, members of various churches, and other sources for potential income and volunteers for our organization, compose another part of the day. Attending various committee meetings within the organization and other informational meetings outside of ICM are another responsibility. On occasion, I also have the privilege to speak at various churches, committees, clubs, and organizations about ICM and how we are able to assist families in crisis.
Tell us about what ICM’s average client looks like.
There is not a stereotypical “average ICM client”. Our clients come from all races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. The only thing they have in common is unemployment or underemployment. We serve single parent families, who may or may not receive child or spousal support. We serve two parent families. We serve those who live on a fixed income due to age or disability. Many of our clients are employed, but only have part-time employment, as it was all they could find.
Our client families live from paycheck to paycheck, allotting their money to cover expenses. Yet, when something unexpected happens, like a car repair, house repair, or medical expense, these families have to choose between putting food on the table, paying rent, and/or buying needed medications. We can offer food for these families; enough to last 4-5 days. We can also offer very limited financial assistance, in form of a voucher, to pay for rent, utilities, or necessary prescriptions.
What critical needs does ICM have, or what resources are critical to ICM’s success in its mission?
Prayer. Donations. Volunteers.
ICM needs your prayers each and every day. We serve between 700-800 families per month, who are in crisis mode. Many do not know where their next meal is coming from, how they are going to keep the power on in their home, how they are going to make the rent payment, or where they will find the money for a needed prescription. Please pray for our clients as they face these crisis situations. But, also pray for ICM. Pray for discernment in all we do.
Donations of food and money keep ICM in business. We collect and/or purchase up to 18,000 pounds of food monthly, and then distribute that food to families in need of assistance. Monetary donations help us pay our own building expenses, such as utilities, etc., but more importantly are distributed in small amounts to families in crisis. We try to be good stewards of all ICM is given, attempting to make the food and funding stretch as far as possible.
Volunteers are the backbone of ICM. We simply could not exist without them. We utilize volunteers as drivers, to pick up food from the food bank in Winston-Salem and local stores who contribute; interviewers, to assess client crisis and need; stockers, to keep our shelves stocked and food rotated for maximum freshness; kitchen workers, to package items for distribution and sort through fresh donations coming into the building; baggers, to bag food items for clients and deliver it to their cars; front desk/receptionists, to welcome clients and gather needed paperwork; and the list goes on and on. Some of our volunteers come in in a daily basis, some weekly, some monthly, while others come on an “as needed” basis.
Can you share a good success story from the time you’ve spent?
There are so many good stories. We see God in action every day when we are able to assist families in need. We hug and cry together as we keep families from being evicted, put food on their table, or keep their electricity on for the month.
One of the most memorable incidences, occurred one day when some of us had just been talking about the increase in clients needing help and the fact that our food supply was growing shorter, especially the meat supply. I received a phone call from a truck driver who had stopped in Statesville to pick up an order of paint and was on his way to Marion to deliver an order of cooked hams. When he called Marion to confirm the ham delivery, they stated they no longer wanted the hams because the expiration date, two weeks out, was too close and they did not feel they would be able to sell the hams in that amount of time. The driver called the ham company, who told him to find a food pantry in Statesville that could use the ham.
Imagine our excitement upon receiving 1700 pounds of beautiful large cooked hams. We were able to cut them in portions for smaller families, and utilize the whole hams for larger families. We were able to freeze some of the hams for client s to receive during the upcoming holiday season. What a blessing!
Joy Morrison can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in volunteering or serving at Iredell Christian Ministries, please call 704-924-6700 or visit www.iredellcm.org