Approximately 11% of DeSoto County’s population is at or below the poverty level, and 17% of DeSoto County is medically uninsured. Aiming to meet this undeniable and growing need, North Mississippi will soon see the launch of its first Dream Center, a cooperative fellowship which includes churches and non-profit compassion ministries.
The DeSoto County Dream Center has made its mission to connect people to a community of support by serving as a resource center focused on finding solutions to hunger, lack of education and healthcare. The DeSoto County Dream Center will provide food, clothing, educational & medical resources to DeSoto County, while focusing on the full and lasting transformation of people’s lives.
The Dream Center will house DeSoto Grace, a non-profit organization which works to assist families in DeSoto County in finding resources and opportunities to improve their economic, educational and relational situations. DeSoto Grace provides free educational coaching, mentorship and after-school activities to children in grades 3-5 from Title 1 DeSoto County schools whose families would not otherwise be able to enroll them in similar assistance or tutoring programs.
To address the lack of affordable healthcare, the Dream Center will partner with Trinity Health Center. This faith-based non-profit organization will provide high quality, cost effective healthcare to the working uninsured and underinsured. It will be staffed by paid, as well as volunteer, licensed healthcare professionals and plans to open in the spring of 2020.
By summer 2020, the Dream Center will offer a food assistance program through a strategic partnership with Heartland Hands. Heartland Hands started in 2006 and provides food for 600 families in the DeSoto County area as well as 14 non-profit agencies/residential programs and 21 other pantries located in much poorer counties in Mississippi. Through this partnership, the Dream Center will focus on providing food to students from Title 1 schools, as well as those enrolled in various programs of the Dream Center who need food assistance. Clothing will also be offered for children in need. Coats, shoes and jeans are the highest requested items for children from families in Title 1 schools. The Dream Center will provide a place for these families to come and secure necessary clothing items for their children.
The Dream Center will also offer several outreach ministries for women. A car care ministry will offer free oil changes for single mothers and widows. Suit U, established by the DeSoto County Business Women, will provide women with professional attire appropriate for career fairs, interviews and the workplace - not just physically equipping women, but also equipping them with confidence and encouragement.
By bringing these outreaches under the same roof and consolidating resources of these vital compassion organizations, the Dream Center can meet needs in an efficient and excellent manner. Supporting families in need undoubtedly impacts our community and economy in the long run by growing healthier families, producing more high school graduates, strengthening our workforce, and easing the burden of the local ER by providing alternative options for the uninsured.
The new DeSoto County Dream Center offers the opportunity for local citizens, businesses, churches and outreach groups to raise awareness, volunteer and meet the needs right here in our community.