Matthew 25 Project helps clothe Minot community
Matthew 25 Project seeks to fill needs
A personal passion to get clothing into the hands of those who truly need it has turned into an organizational mission for Melissa Maasjo.
Maasjo’s Matthew 25 Project provides donated clothing at no cost to those for whom “free” is the price they can afford.
“Jesus calls us to give. He doesn’t call us to make sure that people are deserving,” Maasjo said. “That’s why it’s Matthew 25 — ‘For I was naked and you clothed me.’
“Our hope is that by filling some of the material needs in people’s lives, they can focus on family, mental health, addiction, employment — struggles like that. Maybe we can take this little burden off of them,” she added.
Maasjo had been working part-time at a Minot consignment store when the idea of distributing clothing at no cost prompted her to ask the owner if she could find outlets in addition to thrift stores for items the store was discarding. In January 2020, she began providing excess clothing to about 25 local organizations serving people in need.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, organizations stopped taking used clothing. Maasjo turned to Facebook to find individuals who could benefit from free clothes.
About four months ago, she and her husband decided to name the operation the Matthew 25 Project and increase its social media presence. They currently are seeking official nonprofit status.
The Matthew 25 Project offers clothing and basic household items such as bedding, towels and dishes. The extent of available items is limited by space in a warehouse, which consists of a barn on the Maasjos’ rural property.
“Our dream is to have a place in town and set it up like a store,” Maasjo said. “They can come during open hours and pick out what they want, because I think it’s humbling to ask for help. But to be able to go pick out your own things would be a little bit less humbling than having somebody have to bring it to your door.”
Although people can come to the warehouse and pick up what they need, Matthew 25 volunteers deliver in the Minot/Burlington area. People from a wide area have visited the warehouse to pick up items, Maasjo said.
People also can drop off donations or ask for a donation pickup. Maasjo said there always is a demand for children’s clothes, particularly winter gear at this time of year, but women’s plus sizes and men’s clothing often fall short of the needs as well.
People looking to donate or receive help can contact the Matthew 25 Project through its Facebook page, by calling 701-922-2622 or emailing M25minot@gmail.com.
The project serves about 20 to 30 families in an average week, although 53 families were served during a recent week, Maasjo said. She keeps up with the requests and donations with the help of a team of volunteers who aid in sorting donations and making deliveries and pickups.
A side benefit of the project is in keeping items from the landfill. Maasjo said even clothing that no longer is suitable for wearing can be recycled into other uses.
There’s also another side benefit that Maasjo feels good about.
“I think I’m getting way more out of it than the people that receive things from the project. I’ve made friends. A lot of people who have gotten things from us are now turning around and starting to volunteer,” she said. “That was kind of our dream to have it staffed by people who have benefited from it, and I think that’s super empowering to them to be able to pay it forward in that way.”