A Norman nonprofit focused on providing food to the hungry and transitional housing for the homeless has new leadership.
Mission Norman’s new executive director, Carl Dean, formerly an electrician for 23 years, said although there has been a change in leadership, Mission Norman’s central goal of meeting the needs of the hurting and homeless remains the same.
Dean said while they don’t meet every need a person has, they network with organizations in Norman such as churches, University of Oklahoma groups and businesses to meet needs that they can’t. Mission Norman also works through its food pantry, as well as their homeless ministry, which consists of two bedroom apartments on the 6-acre property that provide housing to families for up to a year.
“No matter what the need is, we do the best to meet that on site or send them where they need to go to have that need met,” Dean said.
Dean recognizes the increasing demand for meeting those needs as Norman grows.
“Mission Norman is physically in the same building doing the same thing as always, and I speak for everyone here when I say we want to do more than we are currently doing,” Dean said. “This means we would have to expand, we would have to be able to house more food to get more food and in our current spot, we can’t do that.”
Dean said the previous director, Dave Karr, led successful fundraising efforts for a new, larger building that would allow for more food storage and growth. Mission Norman is around 65% of the way towards meeting their goal, Dean said.
Last month, Dean said he received word from the Mabee Foundation that Mission Norman had received a challenge grant. As a challenge grant, Mission Norman has to raise $109,000 to receive the grant, and once that is accomplished, they will move forward with construction on a new building which will include a new pantry, warehouse and office.
Dean said although the grant was announced during his time as director, he is thankful for Karr’s efforts that resulted in the $100,000 grant selection. Dean said the upgrades to their facility will better suit their needs and allow Mission Norman to help more people.
“We shrunk the office building down to about half the size of what the original plan was so we can squeeze two more transitional housing units here on the property,” Dean said. “As the end goal, we want to build the place up with more transitional housing, and a new office to be able to meet the needs of more people.”
Follow me @JeffElkins12