Stephanie McMinn felt the call to help others in 2010. “It came from a desire to do more,” said McMinn. She prayed about how she could help her community. After hearing about actress Ellen Pompeo’s (Grey’s Anatomy) role as an ambassador for Huggies’ Every Little Bottom campaign, and their quest to provide diapers to those in need, McMinn felt she could relate. “I was a mom at 16. I didn’t struggle because I had a family that supported me, but not everyone does.”
In 2011 McMinn organized BeGenerous, Inc. , a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization. They have since grown into an eight-person team. The mission is to reach people in need with resources, assist families in need and reveal God’s love through ministry.
Early on, McMinn contacted the Health Department, and found there was a need in the area. Diapers cannot be obtained with assistance such as food stamps or WIC because they are grouped in with pet food, cigarettes and alcohol. She started collecting diapers and donating them to local agencies and families in need.
In addition to collecting diapers, McMinn began volunteering in Defuniak Springs, organizing donations for Kids Closet, a ministry of the First Presbyterian Church in Defuniak Springs, which provides diapers, wipes and other necessities to families in need. She also delivered clothing to families with Stephanie Bailey, who was a career counselor with Walton County Schools, and is currently a Be Generous Liaison.
McMinn identified the need and attempted to help fill the need and bridge the gap of coverage. As people started hearing about what McMinn and others were doing, the needs and requests began to grow, and so did the mission. “Anything and everything we could do to raise community awareness and steer resources to those in need, we wanted to do it.”
In the past several years, BGI has worked with Path of Grace Ministry and other organizations to help women in desperate situations find stable housing. Many local agencies have a waiting list for housing. McMinn hopes to bridge that gap. Calling it their Yellow House Project, BGI is actively raising funds to purchase a home that could serve as a holding place, a safe refuge, for those waiting for long-term care. The goal is to have locations in both North and South Walton County.
McMinn enjoys what she does, and believes in her mission. “I like to get out there in the homes and in the streets and reach out – one-on-one and minister to them, and encourage them and let those in need know someone loves them and cares about them”, she said. She believes ministering to people, communicating with them, and really listening is important to their future success. “Our goal is to try and get to the root of the problem and break the cycle.”
If you are interested in finding out more about BeGenerous, Inc and how you can help, please visit www.begenerousinc.org or call 850-687-7384.