Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

HOUSE OF MERCY

Making God's love visible to those in need

Manassas, VA

Mission

House of Mercy's mission is to provide food, clothing, education and prayer to those in need, thus demonstrating God's unlimited love and mercy to all in our community.

Ruling Year

2007

Executive Director

Jessica M. Root

Main Address

8170 Flannery Ct

Manassas, VA 20109 USA

Formerly Known As

Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy

Keywords

food pantry, thrift store, life skills

EIN

20-4572642

 Number

2910779397

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Food Service, Free Food Distribution Programs (K30)

Thrift Shops (P29)

Roman Catholic (X22)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Food Pantry

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of food donation partners

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Food Pantry

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of meals served or provided

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Food Pantry

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Hours of volunteer service

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of volunteers

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Providing an ample amount of nutritious food to an ever-growing local Community in the neighborhoods we serve is the primary goal of House of Mercy.

The second goal is to ensure the people we serve are able to have access to social and financial services to assist in alleviating suffering.

We understand that simply handing food to the hungry may not necessarily be helping them in the long run. So, we've added free education, providing clients the opportunity to take entry level classes and seminars that provide a foundation for growth.

In our greater community, there are many contributors of local food-insecurity. Helping everyone in the community understand these, and helping to prepare volunteer ambassadors to address the issues of food-insecurity, malnutrition and poverty will help the local poor.

To ensure House of Mercy has enough nutritious food available for our families' needs (and for the growing need in the future), we made arrangements in summer 2015 to begin providing USDA food in a big way, in addition to providing the food we purchase for the Food Pantry.

In 2016 we're helping our clients take control of their food choices by teaching shopping on a budget and how to create tasty meals using the ingredients our families find in their bags from the Food Pantry. Additionally, we're finding ways of providing more fresh vegetables for our clientele.

Making sure our clients have information required to obtain additional health and social services in the community is an additional goal. We've compiled a complete list of all these services and are in-process of getting these eight-page booklets printed to provide to clients. Plans for the future include helping clients apply for assistance for utilities and SNAP benefits.

House of Mercy was founded in 2005, and immediately began providing food donated by local citizens to their less fortunate neighbors. We use USDA and other appropriate Federal, State, and Local resources that help us provide a venue for free food and clothing, and service referrals for our clients in need.

To keep abreast of the growing number of families coming to us for food, we moved into our current 12,900 square foot location in 2011. This includes a 2,700 square foot food pantry with four refrigerator/freezer combos and two full size freezers, a full size garage door from which food from Sysco Food Service and Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) food supplies are unloaded, and many shelving units on which to store shelf-stable foods.

Our clients may come any time from 11am to 5pm Monday through Friday, until 7pm on Wednesdays and on Saturdays by appointment to receive food and clothing allotments. There is a full-time Food Pantry Manager and nine Client Intake and Food Pantry volunteers. Our clients are able to choose their own clothing from our upscale Thrift Store (which also provides funding for the Food Pantry through the sale of items to the general public).

We keep track of our clients' data and the aid they've received with a proprietary database, located off-premise at a secure data center.
We have upwards of 7,900 past and current donors, a solid fundraising plan, a new website and over 4,000 followers on Facebook.

Both the Executive Director and Assistant Director are college educated. The Executive Director has 40 years of work experience and a Minor in Sociology. Eleven years have been in the non-profit and education sector. The Assistant Director has 15 years of work experience and four years experience in the non-profit finances sector. The Volunteer Services Coordinator has 11 years of volunteer and education experience, and holds a Volunteer Coordinator Specialist Certificate from the United Way. The Thrift Store/Warehouse Manager has 38 years of retail experience.

House of Mercy is fortunate to be led by a dedicated group of board members who share our commitment to a strong local food foundation for the needy. In true volunteer spirit, these men and women of our Board contribute their time, professional expertise, and resources to ensure we achieve our mission.

Many different individuals and organizations in our community provide collaborative support. We value our community partners and their synergy so that we may continue to enhance our monetary and non-monetary resources in support of our vision.

Our donors are very important to our organization. These generous individuals believe in turning their interest into action within our community.

1) Increase our capacity to provide hunger relief to a greater number of clients and improve the nutritional value of food distributed.
MEASURES: Our reach and impact will be improved by expanding operations. The goal is to move from serving 200 clients per month to 300 clients a month by the end of 2017.
The food we are able to provide will increase in quality as well as quantity, with more healthy proteins and produce being made available more consistently to clients.
2) Connect clients to other agencies that provide additional social services.
MEASURES: 100% of our clients will leave their initial intake with accurate information on the programs other local agencies provide.
We will join a working group of partner agencies to meet biennially to quarterly to access our collaborative effort and to make recommendations for improvements.
A process will be developed and implemented to track our referrals to other agencies.
3) Pilot our own effort to offer benefits counseling with these two entitlement programs; SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) and LIHEAP (Lower Income Heating Electrical Assistance Program).
MEASURES: We will provide one-on-one assistance to 50 clients in the pilot phase of our counseling program (pilot phase ending June 2017). Specifically, we will recruit and screen interested clients for eligibility and then provide eligible clients with direct assistance in filing for SNAP and LIHEAP.
At least 75% of applications will be accepted, ensuring we are screening effectively, and completing applications well.
Client records, intake interviews, and statistical data will be kept to assess the effectiveness of the program.
4) Empower our clients to take control of their food choices, cooking methods, and home food safety.
MEASURES: Provide healthy food cooking and nutrition classes for our clients. Provide recipes to encourage consumption of healthier foods, prepared using more healthful methods.
Pre and post class tests will assure principles are learned.
5) Advance hunger awareness through education and outreach to create a more informed community motivated to take action.
MEASURES: We will significantly increase public speaking engagements by 2017. We will increase stories in local media about the work of the House of Mercy by 2017.
6) Strengthen the volunteer program, both in numbers, and in depth of experience, so that our pantry operates successfully and expands its outreach to the community, involving more individuals in hunger relief work.
MEASURES: We will have 20 new volunteers commit to monthly shifts by 2018. In addition to shift volunteers, we will have developed a group of 10-15 people regularly volunteering on other projects and programs.
Educate volunteers to be better informed about hunger issues, poverty issues, and hunger relief efforts.
7) Strengthen the staffing and organizational supports that will enable HOM to operate and expand its work.
MEASURES: Update Manuals.

- We increased our clientele from 160 families in Jan 2015 to a high of 213 families in Nov 2015. It has since declined due to a number of factors. We have rectified those items upon which we have control. Increased press releases and special client promotions should help bring these numbers back up quickly.
- Due to our exemplary and innovative record with Capital Area Food Bank, we were asked to participate in a pilot program to get free produce year-round to our clients.
- We have compiled a list of all aid resources available to clients in the greater Manassas area.
- A four-part English cooking and nutrition class was completed in May 2016 with an 800 percent increase in the number of people who finished the series. The same course will be offered in Spanish beginning in June 2016.
- The Executive Director has spoken to twelve groups since Jan. 2015. One group requested specific White Papers referenced in the talks so they could disseminate the information to peers and relatives.
- While we have gained many new volunteers, we've also lost a number of volunteers. Some of this was due to the volunteers not properly understanding, and committing to, the important work we undertake on behalf of the poor. A volunteer coordinator has been assigned for the upkeep and tracking of this all-important area.
- All staff job descriptions have been updated, and a standardized performance standard has been put into place. The Volunteer and Employee Manuals have been updated. Regular monthly Volunteer Meetings have been taking place since October 2015, and weekly Manager Meetings since March 2015.
- Regular Newsletters to volunteers and donors have been emailed every-other-month since Jan. 2015.
- Regular Facebook and Twitter posts are made Monday through Friday since March 2015.
- A strong and concerted push is currently in-process to retain current donors, and increase the number of individual donors and Grantors.

We still need to:
Enroll more clients, and help them locate and apply for financial aid.
Help staff, volunteers and the public understand the value we add to the community, and its importance.
Begin assisting clients apply for SNAP and LIHEAP assistance.
Create more and better classes to engage our clients in accepting a hand-up, not a hand-out.
Educate the Community of the pitfalls of poverty, and how we as a society pay for those pitfalls.
Continue to develop our volunteer program(s) and staffing programs.
Continue to develop fundraising strategies and resources.

External Reviews

Financials

HOUSE OF MERCY

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes