Originally called MSC Helping Hands, the food pantry was founded in May 2006 by Jean Woolsey as a ministry of Mountain Springs Church. Jean started the pantry in part of a building at Falcon Storage, which she and her husband own. It is because of Jean’s vision, charity, and work that the pantry was formed. It was established to serve individuals and families in need, primarily in Falcon and to the north and east, where much poverty exists. Jean had seen the poverty firsthand as she traveled through the areas; and, as a result, developed a heart to serve those in need. Jean realized that these were “neighbors” who needed some ongoing assistance during their difficult times.
In April of 2008 the pantry became its own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under the name of High Plains Helping Hands , Inc., so that our whole community, not just one church, could work cooperatively to provide for our neighbors in need. Although originally started only as a food pantry, our goal is to serve the various needs of low-income families as such needs come to our attention and as we have the volunteers, finances, and other means to meet them. Therefore, we have grown to address the following additional needs of families: coats, hats, gloves, blankets, school supplies, Christmas toys, children’s Easter baskets, and Thanksgiving and Christmas meal bags. In addition to this, we provide spiritual and emotional support through prayer and encouragement.
In October of 2009, Rose Mizer was chosen as the new Executive Director of Helping Hands. Rose was volunteering at the pantry for three years, the last two of which she served as the Administrator. Rose’s passion is team leadership and is currently working to build a strong team of leaders with each one specializing in a particular area. She enjoys building relationships and working with volunteers and clients alike. When she is not devoting time to the pantry, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and her wonderful husband Wayne, and gardening.
In November 2011, Rose and the Helping Hands Board relocated the Pantry to the Mountain Springs Church Campus. Although we are still a separate 501(c) 3 ministry, the generosity of Mountain Springs allows our clientele to be better served in a state of the art facility.
Within two years, our ministry had outgrown the facility at MSC; so in 2013, we began a building campaign for an expansion. Through the generosity from donors, fundraisers, and grants, funds were raised and the project was completed in October 2014. There was great celebration at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on November 19, 2014, as we “unveiled” our new large room, the walk-in cooler and freezer, and outdoor storage pod – all surrounded by a privacy fence.
During 2014 and 2015, our leadership team has grown as new board members and other volunteer leaders have come forward to oversee and lead various areas of the ministry. Their training and past experience has prepared them well and so they are all working hard to grow the Helping Hands programs, increase our donor base and fundraising efforts, and enlarge and train a solid volunteer work force. All of this is so necessary as our clientele continues to increase at a rate of 10-14% per year.