American Faces No. 85
On a recent chilly March morning, in an unassuming warehouse space in Fridley, MN, we found Reverend Shawn and Reverend Jamie Morrison, ministers ordained with the Free Methodist Church denomination, surrounded by crates and barrels full of donated shoes. Together, they operate Good in the ‘Hood, a non-denominational not-for-profit organization providing food, shoes, basic foot care, holiday help and hope to local communities in the Twin Cities.
The Morrisons are on mission together: to influence, inspire and impact individuals, families and entire communities for good. ‘’For good’ is a play on words to imply both noble deeds and to promote perpetual impact,” says Shawn, “We want to do what we do, for good, for as long as possible.”
They’ve actually been ‘doing good’ a pretty long time. The two have been married 35 years, and serving together even longer. “We’re a lifetime and a million miles from where we started,” says Jamie.
They went to school together at Bethany College of Missions in Bloomington (now Bethany Global University). Following graduation, Shawn worked as an outreach evangelism director, preparing students to serve in local communities and in cross-cultural missions. Jamie also attended the college, and joined the school as a student advisor. They later pastored together at churches in Bloomington.
Together, they pursue their shared vision for Good in the ‘Hood: changing lives together, doing simple acts of kindness with the community rather than merely for the community. “It’s not just doing good,” says Shawn, “But helping people grow and share, encouraging and inspiring people to move forward in life.”
The Morrisons have developed an organic perspective on ministering to the community, and mentoring their team of staff and volunteers. They call it a “greenhouse of grace.”
Jamie says, “Much like a greenhouse offers a safe place for plants to grow, promotes plant growth, and prepares plants to be successfully transplanted into the real world, in serving humanity, it’s our goal to be safe, promote personal growth, and prepare people to successfully live in the real world.”
Their vision for inspiring kindness and desire to help others grow, cultivated among their many volunteers and partner organizations –and they would say, nourished by God’s blessing – has yielded a bounty in acts of kindness, demonstrating God’s love to the community in practical ways.
In 2022, Good in the ‘Hood distributed more than 3 million pounds of food over multiple sites to more than 133,000 hungry, hurting people. They provided over 24,000 pairs of shoes/boots to shelters, schools, and the underserved. In all, since the ministry’s inception in 2003, Good in the ‘Hood has been able to inspire intentional kindness and bring basic resources and practical expression of genuine care to more than 1,000,000 people.
Through it all, Shawn and Jamie have developed a deep respect for each others’ strengths. “As Executive Director, Shawn’s about the big picture. He builds the house,” Jamie says, “I make the house a home.” Jamie serves as the Director of Operations and HR. “She provides the traction to keep us moving forward,” says Shawn, “And she’s the anchor to keep us from drifting.”
As they reflect on the Good in the ‘Hood team, their partners, volunteers and community, Shawn and Jamie agree, “We’re better together.”
They say they’ve learned to build trust and community by employing “four L’s” – look, listen, learn and love.
With that formula, we can all be better, together.
Photos by: Nielsen Studios
Writing/editing by: Scott Whitman