Nourishing Compassion — Volunteer Spotlight: Marcus Brown – Orlando Union Rescue Mission

Nourishing Compassion — Volunteer Spotlight: Marcus Brown

 In Newsletter Story, Story, Volunteer Spotlight

Never underestimate how much one good meal can fill a soul with hope. Marcus Brown experienced this firsthand when, as a young adult, his poor choices and drug dealing led him to a life of hunger and uncertainty. “When I was living that life, I feel like I took from families [and my] community by providing drugs and being in a violent environment,” he shares. Now a husband, father, and founder of the nonprofit IHope Mentoring, Marcus expresses his gratitude for the community that cared for him by caring for others.

Every third Saturday of the month, he and a crew of friends and family prepare and serve a meal at the Mission, alternating between Project Hope and our Family Home. Marcus goes to great lengths to make these meals meaningful, choosing monthly themes. On Father’s Day, he did a cookout and invited a local barber to attend. Every guest received a Father’s Day card as well.

After almost ten years of serving at the Mission, Marcus would tell others interested in volunteering, “Go for it with a full heart, a full spirit…I am just one of many volunteers, just a piece of the puzzle. We need all of the pieces to make the picture as beautiful as it is.”

And that beauty encompasses both guests and volunteers. While Marcus’s meals fuel our guests with energy and hope, he finds joy and blessings in his service. He’s recruited children at the Mission to be part of his mentoring program. And a chance encounter at the Mission caused a series of events that led Marcus to a new job and an introduction to the woman who is now his wife. These monthly gatherings are more than a meal. They are the catalyst of new hope and the nourishing of compassion for an often-forgotten community. Never underestimate how an act of service can change a life and refill a soul. Just like Marcus, you may be surprised how many times that life is your own.

To express interest in volunteering, email Nickalos Wise at

To learn more about IHope Mentoring, visit

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