The mission of The Mustard Seed is to help rebuild the lives of families and individuals who have suffered disaster or personal tragedy by providing household furnishings and clothing while being environmentally responsible to our community.
The idea of The Mustard Seed began with Carol Kane who volunteered in homeless shelters in the 1980's. She realized that even when a family received an affordable apartment, they often had no resources to create a home in that empty space. She saw children who had to sleep on the floor and eat standing up at the kitchen counter, and she witnessed mothers who had to heat food in the can because they had no pots and pans.
She started small, operating out of her garage and seeking the help of her family and friends. She expected to help perhaps one family a month. Two years later, in 1986, she moved her overflowing inventory to a small leased industrial space in Longwood. This soon expanded into two additional adjacent warehouse spaces. She realized she would need more help and a formal structure if her project was to continue growing. In June of 1988, The Mustard Seed of Longwood, Inc. was chartered as a non-profit organization receiving its 501(c)(3) status in November 1988. That name changed to The Mustard Seed of Central Florida to reflect the growth of services to a larger community. In 1991, the organization blossomed receiving a donated parcel of land in Eatonville, $300,000 from the United Way, and in-kind labor, material and construction from many generous businesses in our community. Today we are fortunate to have a 20,000 square foot warehouse for our programs.
The Mustard Seed recently experienced exponential growth that has considerably enhanced the efficiency and productivity of our endeavors. There is a new face at The Mustard Seed, and we could not be more elated with what is to come. We have increased our involvement in numerous different aspects of improving the welfare and well-being of the community.
The Mustard Seed has been on a mission to be good stewards of our environment and community since 1984. We provide families and individuals throughout Central Florida the resources they need to regain stability by providing basic necessities like clothing, furniture, books, and household items donated by the public. Now in 2016 as we continue our core mission to provide furniture and clothing to those who want to rebuild their lives, we also are establishing a solid reputation as a nonprofit green recycler.
We have a tendency to forget that adversity can strike at any time, and, to any one of us. Many of us have experienced challenging times and needed the help of others to overcome personal tragedy or disaster. Over the years, the Mustard Seed has strived to provide help to thousands of families, individuals, and veterans living in the Central Florida Community, in the form of a hand up, not a hand out.
The Mustard Seed is led by a visionary Executive Director with keen management and business knowledge. The leadership team (Office Manager, Development and Marketing Manager, and Operations Manager) are experts in their field.
Similarly, our Board of Directors are determined and passionate about furthering the mission of The Mustard Seed. Their executive leadership and connections within the community positions The Mustard Seed for positive growth to serve more families.
The Mustard Seed is grateful for the 5,400 volunteers that provide us with a sustainable labor force. Our volunteers are managed by a competent impassioned Volunteer Coordinator who actively recruits, trains, and recognizes the work and efforts of our volunteers. Volunteers come from five primary categories: individuals, groups from colleges and universities, groups from service/religious clubs, high school groups, and corporations.
Staff members are dedicated compassionate professionals who seek to serve families and individuals who are rebuilding their lives. The staff's passion, professionalism, and positivity have been noted with 100% of customer survey responses stating that they are very satisfied with both the office and furniture delivery's performance.
It is important to note that all the furniture that we provide to families and individuals are generously donated from our community including individuals and corporations. We own 2 large delivery trucks that pick-up donated furniture and clothing every day from Orange, Seminole, and Osceola Counties. This avenue for in-kind contributions builds the foundation for future financial support.
We provide our clients with furniture and household necessities that may include a sofa, beds, a table, chairs, a dresser or shelves depending on the family size based availability. Lamps, linens dishes and flatware are provided when available. However, a family can only receive furniture from The Mustard Seed once in a lifetime expect special circumstances such as uninsured fire or flood.
Any of our Central Florida neighbors in need of furniture assistance through the furniture program must obtain a referral from an authorized Mustard Seed Referring Agency. We work with over 150 community partners who make home visits to asses our clients' needs. All clients must bring everything on the Client Checklist.
Charlie, an Iraq veteran, came to TMS in dire need of furniture. He and his wife got pregnant after returning from his service. They got into a car accident at 30 weeks pregnant, and she went on full time bed rest. When Aurora arrived, they were evicted for breaking the lease by having a child in the household. They became homeless and only recently found a cheap rental.
We gifted them a swing and stroller. They declined saying that it took 3 hours and 3 buses to go 5 miles. We drove them home. They only had two folding chairs, a TV on on an upside-down broken fish tank and blankets. TMS truck was scheduled to deliver an entire household of furniture, beds, linens, and basic housewares the following day. Our organization provided them with a defining moment of hope.
Twice a month families and individuals can shop at The Seed Boutique for 3 Tops, 3 Bottoms, 1 Pair of Shoes, 3 Undergarment (bras, underwear, socks or pajamas), 3 Misc. Accessories (belts, hats, scarves, jewelry), 1 Handbag or Backpack, dress or suit counts as 1 top and 1 bottom.
The price is for $12 adults, $7 for 65 and older, and $5 for children. Individuals do not need to obtain a referral for this service, but need to show proof of assistance such as free/reduced lunch, WIC, TANF, SNAP or Medicaid, etc. Clothing clients need to
complete a clothing application using a government issued ID, the ID of the other Adults (18
and Up) and Birth Certificates for children.
The Mustard Seed’s Mattress Recycling Program also has the potential to train workers, help them develop skills, and create new jobs, which would contribute to a growing green economy in Florida.
Forty million mattresses in the
US end up in landfills annually. This poses great hazards to the environment
and people. They cannot decompose, and they create flammable air pockets
jeopardizing equipment and putting operators at risk.
Only a handful of organizations recycle mattresses in the United States. We are the only nonprofit in Florida to recycle them. This positions The Mustard Seed as a resource, solution and leader in mattress recycling. We recognize and meet the demand to be environmental stewards, leading by example. We keep mattresses out of the landfill by deconstructing them into core components to be re-used and recycled.
The Mustard Seed received The Sustainable Florida – 2014 Best Practice Award for outstanding achievements and excellence in helping to create a sustainable economic, environmental and social future for Florida.
Of the 7,200 nonprofits in Central Florida, The Mustard Seed is 1 of 27 that has self-sustaining revenue through social enterprise.
Kathy joined The Mustard Seed of Central Florida as the Executive Director in February of 2013. Her passion to help is evident in her desire to make a difference in the community.
In 2011 – 2012 she became a part of the Heart of Florida United Way Resource Development Department overseeing the nonprofit agencies campaigns. She co-founded The Gift of Swimming with Joy McGinty in 2002 and as the Executive Director she collaborated with the medical field, government entities, community leaders, individuals, corporations and other nonprofits to raise awareness and funds for underprivileged and children with special needs.
Alex joined The Mustard Seed in 2011 after 10 years as the Security Officer of Manheim Orlando. She was born and raised in Australia. She moved to The United States in 1998. She has a lifetime of public service and commitment to the needy. She grew up volunteering for the Salvation Army and in a drug rehabilitation center.
Federal Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, First Community Pentecostal, Jesus the Light of Life Ministries, Operational Provision: provide continuous surplus clothing on a weekly basis to each of these organizations for Caribbean and local distribution.
Jones High School Tiger’s Den: provided winter coats and jackets during the winter extreme cold snap in January 2010.
Mark Street Senior Center: provided two boxes of children’s educational DVDs for Santa.
United Global Outreach: provided educational DVD’s, CD’s and other items for the Orange County Academy under their umbrella; will be giving Easter baskets and all our surplus household donations to The Bithlo Community Free Garage Sale. We are working to let the community know of our partnership and collaboration to help individuals in East Orlando.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Central Florida Foundation 800 N Magnolia AvenueSuite 1200 Orlando, FL 32803 p. 407.872.3050 f. 407.425.2990