Republic is a small community outside of Springfield, MO that is made of mostly hard-working middle and lower middle class citizens. Before People Helping People, there were no resources for residents to go to when they were in need of food, clothing or other immediate items.
Marcella Garner single-handedly started this not-for-profit organization in 1985 because she was aware of the great need in the community for this type of service. She started the organization with no resources, but spent many hours going to churches, social groups and businesses telling them of the need and her ideas. The community response is described as unbelievable.
People Helping People now has a community building provided by the city for storage of food, clothing, household goods and toys. These items are all donated. The building is open and available to anyone in need. It is staffed entirely by volunteers with Garner providing organization and supervision. At Christmas time each year, families in the community can sign up for food, clothing and toys for their families. Each year, school supplies are provided for children in need. Glasses, medical supplies and utility assistance is also available. Since 1985, thousands of people have been helped.
"Through all of this, Garner has been the leader and guiding light," remarked Lindy Maus, Certified Public Accountant and Garner's nominator, "she has organized the schools for drives and goes into class rooms each year to tell the children how they too, can help the less fortunate. She works at the building sorting clothing and food, talks to social organizations, meets with families in need, organizes volunteers, the list goes on and on."
Garner does not stop there, she is also active in other organizations, including, the V.F.W. Auxiliary, Veterans Home, Child Advocacy Council, First Baptist Church and Family and Community Education through the University of Missouri.