The Christian Food Mission (CFM): A small group of dedicated Christians from several different churches had the idea of starting a congregate feeding program for the needy. This project was to be the first of its kind in Jones County and opened on Christmas Day, 1982 to receive people into a dining hall for lunch. The program was subsequently closed during the summer of 1983 for the purpose of re-evaluation and re-organization. On November 1, 1983 the program resumed serving meals under the direction of Mr. Robert Smith. Shortly afterwards, a limited meal delivery service was established for the elderly in Laurel through the efforts of Miss Nell Davis.
A small group of volunteers, working with Mr. Smith, determined to go through the process of incorporation and retained the name “Christian Food Mission” to officially designate the project. The corporation was officially chartered in the state of Mississippi on May 10 th, 1985. The non-profit organization was approved to receive 501(c)(3) status on June 16, 1987.
Initially, a portion of the Salvation Army’s church was leased for the purpose of preparing and serving the meals. As the program grew and began to establish its own identity, it became necessary to seek more adequate facilities to house the expanding ministry. During the summer of 1985, Justice Heights United Methodist Church was kind enough to offer the use of their kitchen and church. As volunteers prepared meals from this church in south Laurel, other volunteers were at work renovating an old building for the ministry’s use in east Laurel.
On September 2, 1985, CFM was able to move into its permanent home located on Chantilly Street. Having its own building with a clear purpose, a number of new volunteers were attracted to contribute their time to the work. By mid-1986, an extensive meal delivery service for the elderly was firmly in place for the Laurel area. Soon to follow was the establishment of a county-wide food bank through which families could receive groceries.
The entire operation is now under the direction of a nine member, voluntary Board of Directors made up of mature believers drawn from several Christian congregations. In October, 1995 Mr. Greg Brown was added as a full-time staff member to help direct the daily operations of the Mission. Brother Robert, assisted by Brother Greg, oversees this peculiarly Christian work of local ministrations. The work is accomplished by the involvement of several dozen volunteers each week.