Mustard Seed Welcomes New Director and Renovations
Serving the community is nothing new for Greg Smith. The new Executive Director of Mustard Seed Ministries has a long history of community service, nonprofit management, and finding a way to connect individuals in need to the appropriate resources to help them move forward.
A native of Louisiana and member of the Cherokee Nation, Smith came to St. Lucie County by way of Brevard County, where he lived and worked for more than 30 years in the field of health care and health services management. His commitment to addressing the psychosocial aspects of health and well-being and his love for learning ignited his interest in the position in St. Lucie County working with Mustard Seed’s grassroots, community-based model of connecting resources and providing more than a bandage during an individual or family’s time of crisis.
An Army veteran with two master’s degrees and a member and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), Smith’s background in both business development and health services led him to create a nonprofit organization called Health, Education and Lifestyle Partnership (HELP) based in Cape Canaveral, Florida. HELP’s mission to identify and address health, psychosocial, educational and economic needs of the community revolve around collaboration with social service, religious, government, business and educational organizations in the community dovetails perfectly with the mission of Mustard Seed Ministries, which is "to coordinate the energies of the Christian churches of St. Lucie County to meet the spiritual and material needs of the whole person and to make referrals to all available relief agencies in our community to take care of those in need.” With his background predominantly in healthcare and business development, Smith saw the opening at Mustard Seed as an opportunity to learn about another piece of the community health and well-being puzzle and how a grassroots community organization addresses the needs of its members holistically.
“Nobody ever wants to be in a position of accepting assistance,” says Smith, “yet each of us needs one another to thrive in this world. Some of the hardest individuals to help are the ones who have been doing well on their own until something comes along that simply overwhelms them. They are looking for a resource that can help them recover and move on, not take over or make them feel incapable or less than. I was intrigued when I learned of this mighty local organization in St. Lucie County which has learned to collaborate efficiently and with care for more than 30 years.”
For Smith, as well as for the hundreds of volunteers, supporters, and community members who have helped keep Mustard Seed going for more than three decades, seeing the actual good being accomplished is motivation to continue every single day. “Often, I see someone coming into the building looking like he doesn’t have a friend in the world and has a heavy burden on his heart,” says Smith. “When I see that person walk out of the building with a smile on his face, a little hope in his eyes, and that walk that tells me he feels good about himself – well, then I know what we’re doing here is living the Gospel and allowing our actions to speak louder than our words. That’s when I know that we’re all where we’re meant to be at that moment, doing what we’re meant to be doing. And that’s the best feeling in the world.”
In the coming months, Smith expects to learn more about the seventeen programs and services available to individuals and families in St. Lucie County through Mustard Seed, and he’s looking forward to meeting and collaborating with other agencies, organizations, and individuals in St. Lucie County. He says he’s already had the opportunity to learn so much about the strength and personality of the community through events like the recent National Association of Letter Carriers’ Annual Food Drive, which Mustard Seed helped coordinate and which brought in approximately 160,000 pounds of food to be distributed for free to a number of small local emergency food pantries in St. Lucie County. And he’s looking forward to participating in the annual Community Thanksgiving Feast and getting to know the faces behind the many nonprofit and service organizations in the community.
The Fort Pierce building that houses Mustard Seed’s largest thrift shop, food pantry, social services and administrative offices will be closed for a couple of weeks to accommodate repairs and remodeling from last year’s tropical storm season. However, in its tradition of faithful community service, its Port St. Lucie location will continue to provide these services. Smith and the entire Mustard Seed Family are excited at the prospect of serving the community from a newly remodeled building. If you’d like a chance to meet Smith and see the updated community service center, please feel free to contact him at Mustard Seed’s main office at (772) 465-6021 to arrange a meeting.