The Mustard Seed is a Christian community for adults with developmental disabilities in Flowood, MS. Founded in 1981 to meet the spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of adults with special needs, The Mustard Seed provides a loving and protected environment with meaningful activities which allow the “Seedsters” to fulfill the potential God has created within them. Prior to The Mustard Seed’s inception in 1981, many parents and guardians of adults with developmental disabilities had few options for the care of their loved ones. These visionaries knew that their special persons had great potential for growth and the right to their own life experiences.
The Mustard Seed’s goal is to continue expanding its programs in order to touch and bless additional lives of adults with developmental disabilities. Over the last 38 years The Mustard Seed has grown to include multiple group homes, a swimming pool, a gift shop, a ceramics studio and workshop, a multi-purpose activity center, classrooms, and administrative support for these programs and services. God has blessed The Mustard Seed and is continuing to “move mountains” within this special needs community.
“We love telling our customers about Agape North and our relationship with this unique company. We are excited about what the future holds for this mission-driven partnership.”
As the Director of Community Relations at the Mustard Seed, my job is to promote the Mustard Seed and our Seedsters. We are a 501c3 nonprofit and therefore rely mostly on the community that has so graciously supported us over the last 38 years. We have several fundraisers (both large and small) each year. Our largest is Racin’ for the Seed which is a Duathlon and 5k run in which our Seedsters train and complete as well. While fundraising is a huge part of what we do, I also enjoy the side of my job where we get to showcase the Seedsters’ artwork and their God given abilities through reading in schools, selling and showcasing their art, as well as volunteering locally. Rather than only seeing disability, we want the public to realize our Seedsters’ abilities through their many works. I find this to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
I realized fairly quickly that I wanted to work with Agape North. Not only did they have a quality product, but I found myself intrinsically drawn to their overall level of community engagement. Although I instantly connected with the idea of Agape North, I was initially reluctant to place an order given our long-standing relationship with a pervious supplier. Then, I met Joe at Mistletoe Marketplace in Jackson, MS. Meeting Joe and learning more about Agape North only further solidified my initial feelings that we needed to partner with this mission-driven organization.
The Mustard Seed is blessed to have an average of 250 volunteers on campus each month. We could not accomplish our mission without the support of our wonderful volunteers. Utilizing our volunteers as an exemplary example, our Seedsters are able to visualize and better understand the importance of giving back to the community that has given us so much. For this reason, I knew partnering with Agape North would be a perfect fit for the Mustard Seed.
There are many worthy schools and organizations we could have donated our shirts to thanks to our new partnership with Agape North. However, when we started investigating potential options, there was one school in particular that uniquely stood out. The Redeemer School is a charter school that opened in 2014 in Jackson, Mississippi. The school’s vision is “to raise native, transformative leaders in our community who are equipped with a rigorous, diverse, and gospel-centered education.” For our first “give back” event, we donated 90 embroidered uniform shirts to the sweetest K-6 children one special morning. The Bells of Faith handbell choir, comprised of Seedsters, led their morning worship with hymns and the children sang along. These students hadn’t ever met the Seedsters and didn’t go to school with students who looked like them. These students were able to see beyond their differences, they saw the Seedsters for their musical gifts and generous hearts who came to bless them with their surprise donation that morning. Everyone in the room had a smile on their face.
We sold a lot of shirts after the first donation event. We even started advertising our partnership with Agape North in our gift shop. Once we were ready for another donation event, there was only one school we wanted to go to, The Redeemer’s School. For our second “give back” event, we decided on an embroidered uniform fleece. Each donation day has been truly heartfelt and memorable. The Seedsters love being around children, reading to the classrooms, and seeing their excited faces when they get a new article of clothing.
We love telling our customers about Agape North and our relationship with this unique company. We are excited about what the future holds for this mission-driven partnership.
- Mandy Sisson, Director of Community Relations at The Mustard Seed