Raising up neighbors in need
Jamie, a member of the Elevate Work program, heads to class on Monday and Wednesday nights, learns valuable job skills and receives a hot dinner. On Tuesday, his daughter, Katie, attends the after-school reading program and eats dinner there with her friends. Jamie receives a hand-delivered sack lunch from Elevate Branson on Thursday. And on Sunday, he stops by for an optional church service and eats a hot breakfast.
This is a week in the life of someone who receives assistance from Elevate Branson. In 2008, Bryan and Amy Stallings co-founded the organization with a Thanksgiving dinner for people in need in their community. The nonprofit has since grown in many ways, now offering Elevate Work—a job-training program—and Community Connections—a network for area resources in Springfield and Branson. The organization also offers Elevate Health—a program with mental health and telemedicine resources—and Elevate Kids—a reading program with a sensory room.
“Our vision is for every individual to know hope, dignity and purpose through the love of Jesus,” Bryan shared.
At its founding, the organization was called Jesus Was Homeless, and it served sack lunches to people in need once a week. Now, the charitable group goes by Elevate Branson.
“We have moved to a broader holistic approach for the entire community – physically, relationally and spiritually,” Bryan explained. “We needed a name that shared that message, and since everything we do is targeted to move our neighbors forward by elevating them, Elevate Branson seemed to be the right name.”
In 2009, as the organization grew, Elevate Branson began working with The Food Bank.
“The food insecurity need continued to increase for our neighbors, and by partnering with Ozarks Food Harvest, we were able to reduce our costs and serve more people,” Bryan said.
The nonprofit serves 500 sack lunches each week to people living in motels, as well as serving meals during each of its programs.
“The food is such a critical piece of what we do,” Bryan shared. “It is really the tool that allows us to begin to build trust so that we can then move our neighbors into their next steps.”
Looking forward, Elevate Branson is excited for another expansion in its outreach.
“In 2021, we will be launching our 48-unit master-planned tiny house development to our low-income neighbors to move them from the motels,” Bryan said.
We are very grateful for our partnership with Elevate Branson and look forward to all of the ways the organization is growing. To learn more about the group’s mission and programs, check out its Facebook page and website.