O U R S T O R Y
WHO WE ARE
Mission projects such as the Beans & Rice Project, and Project Schoolroom (the original desk project) for Haiti and the developing countries of the Caribbean had been growing in Illinois for many years. But, finding storage for these items prior to shipping, was becoming a problem. This, combined with the devastating floods of 1993, caused the realization that a place was needed in the Midwest to receive, prepare, store and ship items to where they were needed.
In June 1999 the idea of the Midwest Mission Distribution Center was presented to the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. It passed unanimously, with the stipulation that there was to be no indebtedness. This is still the policy; there is absolutely no indebtedness for any project or operations of Midwest Mission. Seed money of $100,000 from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and $50,000 from the United Methodist Committee on Relief were used to get started. Since then, everything has been done with donations from individuals, churches and groups, and with volunteer labor. Midwest Mission borrows no money and receives no money from church apportionments or from the UMCOR yearly offering, One Great Hour of Sharing. The Center works closely with UMCOR, but is not a part of UMCOR.
The site for Midwest Mission is an 8-acre campus, east of Chatham, IL, . Construction on the Kit-making area began in October of 1999 and opened in March of 2000. The Project Schoolroom wood shop was moved onto the site that year. In May of 2001 the Dormitory opened to house volunteers working at Midwest Mission. In the fall of 2001 the RV Park of 13 spaces with full hook-ups opened. The next project was the Twice Giving Gift Shop, “giving” to: 1) the craftsperson in developing countries and 2) the support of Midwest Mission. In December of 2002 the Director’s family moved into the new Staff House. In the spring of 2005 the duplex was completed for the Warehouse Supervisor and the Volunteer Coordinators to live in. The first 7,500 sq. feet of warehouse space was completed in 2002. This area is wired and heated and has 2 semi-trailer loading docks which are a valuable asset when shipping. The slab for the second 10,500 sq. feet (an unheated addition) was poured in the spring of 2005, and was a big help in handling the tons of donations brought to Midwest Mission to aid victims of the terrible hurricane season of 2005. In the summer of 2007 funds had been collected and the construction was completed.
Fast forward to 2022, we now have 35,000 sq. feet of space. There are three heated warehouses, a new loading dock that can hold two containers for shipping, a concrete apron and permanent shipping containers outside of the third warehouse for storage, a quonset hut for storage, a staff office addition, and a studio apartment that was converted from the original garage.
We have grown a lot over the last 22 years, and we are excited to see how we grow next.