For over 80 years, Edmundite Missions has dedicated itself to addressing extreme poverty and civil rights in the southern United States. Working from Selma, Alabama, an icon of the civil rights movement, the Missions, a Catholic agency of the Fathers of St. Edmund, provides basic human needs services to its community.
Edmundite Missions Enterprises works to serve Selma, three adjacent rural areas and in New Orleans. Among the very poor, household incomes are often well below average. With many household incomes falling below half of other parts of the region and a third of other areas of the United States. With faltering financial stability, many in the Selma and rural New Orleans areas suffer from malnutrition, widespread chronic disease and disability.
We will never walk away from our commitment to serve the poorest of the poor without question or qualification
The unemployment rate in these areas often fluctuates at high levels, often approaching 60 percent. In Selma alone, 43 percent of the population and 60 percent of children live below the poverty line. Despite these harrowing truths, Edmundite Missions has faith in the community, sharing that Selma is a region of tremendous pride and resilience. With its historical roots as a pivotal location for the 1960s civil rights movement, generations of families have lived and survived in this community. Edmundite shares, “the sense of determination is palpable.”
Edmundite Missions provides a wide range of services to the poor, but food has been at their core since 1937. They serve over 1,000 meals a day at their congregate dining center in Selma, deliver another 300 meals to the homebound, provide 750 elementary students with two bagged breakfasts for the weekends when they do not have access to Federally-provided breakfasts at school and provide hundreds of food bags weekly in rural areas.
‘Service to Solutions’ is our motto. Being a part of SEA allows us to learn from others how best to do that.
For many of the poor, their food ministry is the only regular meal that they can count on, and for those without electricity, it is the only hot meal of their day. It was this core commitment to food and nutrition that led them to create Kitchens in Selma, the first social enterprise under Edmundite Missions Enterprises. Out of the same kitchens that serve the poor during the day, Kitchens in Selma produces a full line of food products — like jams, nuts, biscotti, peanut brittle and more — for national distribution.
Through the development of the social enterprise, Edmundite is able to provide jobs for Selma residents, more visibility for poverty in the deep South nationally and be a steady resource for the hungry. In their first three months they have shipped product to 31 states, added 149 hours of paid employment to the community and generated sufficient net revenue to fund 1,200 meals.
From Edmundite Missions Enterprises: [Our social enterprise] is a critical part of our effort to grow solutions from service. We will never walk away from our commitment to serve the poorest of the poor without question or qualification, but enterprise is part of our effort to build a pathway to self-reliance for those who can return to economic stability. “Service to Solutions” is our motto. Being a part of SEA allows us to learn from others how best to do that.
To learn more about Edmundite Missions Enterprises, check out their member directory profile.