Mission Central in the Harrisonburg District started more than twenty-five years ago at McGaheysville UMC. This ministry was on the top floor (attic) of the church and for 25 years they gave away clothes to needy children. There was no heat or air-conditioning and to get clothes to be distributed required climbing up stairs and hauled back down those steps. Mrs. Artie Frederick asked Rev. Tommy Herndon to help find a larger facility because this ministry had outgrown its quarters. Artie and Tommy looked for more than two years and could not find any space that was affordable, so they decided to build. Cedar Grove UMC had room and agreed to host the Clothes Closet in their Fellowship Hall. In less than a year, it became evident that this space was not large enough. In 2017, we decided to build on land behind Cedar Grove. We had no major funds to work with so we asked Mr. Bill Neff to help us. Bill was selling modular units, and it was decided that six units would give us 4200 square feet of open space. He donated $100,000 of the cost of the units and the district Mission Fund paid for the rest. This all started in September 2017.
Today, it is complete and will be dedicated on April 28, 2019 at 3:00 pm. The address is: behind Cedar Grove UMC, 1704 Smithland Road, Harrisonburg, Va. There are way too many people to thank everyone individually but Mrs. Artie Frederick and Rev. Bob Talbot are two that must be mentioned. Artie and her crew assisted thousands each year with clothes and diapers. Rev. Bob Talbot organized and worked for months with his crews to complete this structure. The facility is 4200 square feet with about three-fourths dedicated to children’s clothing, diapers and supplies. The other one-fourth is stocked with medical supplies and equipment that can be used by anyone and then returned for the next person. Mrs. Delores Reid leads the Loaner Closet and she has a full crew that helps her. Evan Brandt and his group of Boy Scouts have also finished a fenced in play area for children while their parents are getting clothing, diapers or medical equipment.
In 2018, they helped 387 families, 832 children (children can receive clothes once a month). There were 801 visits to Mission Central. Clothing was given out 2,335 times and 27,000 diapers were distributed. In 2019, Mission Central has already served 408 families. These families have received clothing 1673 times and they have already given out more than 19,700 diapers. Medical equipment has been loaned out hundreds of times and they have also dispensed dressings, wound care supplies, and disposable briefs.
Mission Central is a ministry of the Harrisonburg District of the UMC and is supported by many of the churches in the district. Thus far, they have received two grants – one from Wal-Mart and one from the Virginia United Methodist Foundation. The Foundation grant is being used to supply diapers, pajamas and other clothes to needy children. This is a district- wide ministry and it takes everyone to make it a success. If anyone would like to help with this ministry, they can contact Artie Frederick at 540-208-7669.
The Virginia United Methodist Foundation is proud to be able to reach out and help mission projects across the Virginia Conference. If the Foundation can help your church or be of assistance in anyway, please call 804-521-1120. We are “Methodists helping Methodists”.