Hands Up Ministries Free Market
(VideoofHands Up activity)

Hands Up Ministries is a nonprofit free market founded by John and Cassie Matthew in August, 2008. The couple was “tired of referring folks to other organizations” and felt called to start a ministry in which they could “empower folks to take control of their own lives.” They state that their mission is to “increase trust, decrease defeat, and increase self-worth.” With this goal in mind, the Matthews decided that the best way to help those in need was to provide them with a free service. This free service became Hands Up Ministries, and the couple, with the help of NorthMinster Baptist Church and the New Hanover Presbyterian Church, began providing poor Richmond families with basic household items at no cost. Cassie Matthews states that she strongly believes that the relationships she makes with the people are why she created the ministry.

The free market is housed in the North Minster Baptist Church. The ministry is funded by the North Minster Church and the New Hanover Presbyterian Church, which is the church that the Matthews attend. The ministry serves poor individuals from the Richmond community by providing them with food, clothing, and other essential life needs. During the week, Cassie Matthews and volunteers, some patrons of the free clinic and some from Virginia Commonwealth University, sort through donated items, breaking them into categories and preparing the items to be distributed at Saturday’s Free Market event. On Saturday morning, the patrons enter the free market, eat breakfast, and then begin to shop. Each week between 50 and 100 families receives a bag of groceries and shops among the clothing items. Once the family shopping is completed, the family may leave and return again in a month. Hands Up Ministries also provides mentoring for those in need, and helps patrons with job placements.

Hands Up Ministries
3121 Moss Side Avenue
Richmond , VA 23222

Interview with organization manager
Hands Up website

Profile prepared by Derreck Granell
September, 2009