Church creates mission HQ with donated space

By Amy Forbus
Editor

St. Paul UMC Little Rock on June 7 celebrated the grand opening of a facility to house the headquarters of three distinct mission efforts.

Originally a residence adjoining the church’s property, the Baxley Building was donated to the church by the Baxley estate in late 2013. The church’s School Age Clothes Closet (SACC), a ministry that serves students in the Little Rock School District, began using the building about a year ago to store its stock of clothes. Now, two other nonprofits have joined SACC in placing their home bases there.

OMP’s Bailey Faulkner, left, greets visitors to the Baxley Building during its opening reception June 7. AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

OMP’s Bailey Faulkner, left, greets visitors to the Baxley Building during its opening reception June 7.
AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

Ozark Mission Project (OMP), a United Methodist-related nonprofit, has room in the Baxley Building for its full-time executive director as well as for its part-time mission coordinator and an intern. OMP (www.ozarkmissionproject.org) offers summer camps and other experiences to transform lives through worship, fellowship and service. Campers serve neighbors by making home repairs, building relationships while they build wheelchair ramps, paint houses and make other improvements to homes.

OMP’s previous office space had barely enough room for all three staff members to work at the same time. Executive director Bailey Faulkner shared her excitement about having a location big enough to host meetings and to hold interviews for each summer’s college-aged staff members.

“This space will allow us to be able to meet with the families we serve, our volunteers and our board members, and to be able to work collaboratively together as a team,” Faulkner said.

In addition to the new home, OMP recently received another piece of good news in the form of a $26,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation. This gift, the largest in OMP’s 29-year history, will pay for replacement tools and duplicate tools to serve multiple work sites. With 800 campers helping about 500 neighbors per summer, OMP’s equipment needs remain steady.

The grant also will help expand year-round opportunities to assist more neighbors, including military veterans.

“Ozark Mission Project helps veterans every summer,” Faulkner said. “With the Home Depot’s emphasis on caring for veterans, we will now start tracking how many veterans we help.”

Karla Allen of Ozark Water Projects demonstrates a water filtration backpack for visitors to the nonprofit’s new office space. AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

Karla Allen of Ozark Water Projects demonstrates a water filtration backpack for visitors to the nonprofit’s new office space.
AUM PHOTO BY AMY FORBUS

Ozark Water Projects (www.ozarkwaterprojects.org), a nonprofit focused on providing clean water in parts of the world where safe drinking water is scarce, is the third mission based in the Baxley Building. Churches can help this mission by holding a used shoe drive; Ozark Water Projects sells those shoes to an exporter and puts the money toward giving communities reliable access to clean water.

“The shoes are just a means to do this,” said Karla Allen, executive director for Ozark Water Projects. “What we try to do is take something that everyone already has, and they don’t want anymore, and we just ask them to give it to us…. As that adds up, that’s how we pay for all of these projects.”

Individuals or groups also may sponsor filtration equipment through Ozark Water Projects. A two-bucket household filtration system provides enough water for a family of four, and a backpack filtration system both transports and filters drinking water.