MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Desoto County, Mississippi, organization is bringing resources to those who need it the most. They call it a mobile community.
ABC 24’s Nicki Storey found out just what is happening at Destiny Center.
“We have a shuttle service. We take people in wheelchairs and non-wheelchairs to the doctor, hospital, wherever they need to go. A cost for a wheelchair patient is anywhere from $250 to $600 for one transport, but ours is a free service,” said Debbie House, Director of the Destiny Center.
“There's amazing organizations that are out here doing all these great things, but if you can't physically get to them, they don't exist for you,” said Brandi Bell, Marketing Lead, Destiny Center.
The center's founder Pastor Doug Bell was raised by his grandmother who never owned a driver's license. They had to walk everywhere or rely on family and friends to get them places. From his childhood experiences, Bell was inspired to make a change.
He bought a used school bus, which he and volunteers renovated into a mobile resource center. The bus is equipped with a mini hair salon they've used for back-to-school haircut events. Computer stations and Wi-Fi were installed so they can offer resume assistance and tutoring. There's even an area of the bus designed for counseling.
Bell said the bus was designed to be versatile in its use. Whatever is needed in the community, they can deliver with the bus.
"We can take services and go from a 'Walmart' mentality, where we draw the patient in, to an 'Amazon' mentality where we take the services to the patients," said Brandi Bell.
In October 2021 the center launched Destiny Delivers. Every Tuesday and Thursday volunteers deliver hot, free meals to seniors. The delivery program also allows volunteers to connect with seniors who may not see many visitors.
“We know their birthdays. We know their relationships. We built a relationship with them,” said House.
“They become family. They're not just a stop on a route of delivering food,” said Bell.
“We've met some amazing people along the way and have some amazing stories. We're all in this because we do love people, and that's why we do it,” said House.
A group called Niagara Cares granted the Destiny organization with $10,000 for their summer food initiative. Over the summer months, they deliver lunches to impoverished children throughout Desoto and Marshall County. Last summer volunteers delivered 500 lunches to students five day a week.
Everyone who works are Destiny Center is a volunteer. They rely solely on the donations and the kindness of other people and organizations. Brandi Bell said the more they can partner with other community-minded businesses, the more they can expand the center and its services.