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WORKING LIFE ‌ Missy Barnes

Community Relations Director, Crisis Ministries

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"I serve as the community relations director for Crisis Ministries; and for a nonprofit, that could mean many things, including taking out the trash! I communicate a lot with our volunteers and donors through the e-newsletter, which is sent out once a month and anyone can register for through our website. Five meals a day are prepared by volunteers, so we're constantly counting on a constant flow of volunteers to come in and help us with that regularly.

"Probably the most difficult part about communicating to our volunteers and donors is walking the line of conveying that there is a sense of urgency for our clients, but also showing that we are successful in our mission. It's hard to communicate that you're a success, which makes people comfortable in contributing to something established and worthwhile, but that you also need help.

"We also try to convey the message to people that not all the shelter's homeless are chronically homeless. Well over half of our clients are employed and are in and out of the shelter in a short period of time. There are many people who would never be identified as homeless by individuals they interact with outside of the shelter.

"We all have a congenial relationship with our clients. When I find out someone's enrolled in literacy classes or someone's got a job or someone's moving out, I definitely let them know that I'm proud of them and that we're all behind them.

"What I love is the camaraderie that comes with working for a nonprofit; there's something there that's unique to organizations like ours. Everyone's there with a goal in mind and are willing to jump right in. There's really no red tape. If you see something that needs to be done, no one's really gonna stop you from just jumping in there and doing it.

"There's not really an average day. We have a major fund-raiser every year and now that's what I'm spending almost all my time on. This year's event is on April 27 at Lowndes Grove Plantation. It's called 'food*shelter*hope' and will feature live music, awesome food, and silent and live auctions, so we're hoping to raise over $50,000. My efforts at the moment are focused on making this happen and just getting the word out." —as told to Kelly Smith

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