One North Dakota native is on a mission to help as many people in need as she can.
A wife, mother, foster parent, woman of faith and founder of the Matthew 25 Project — Melissa Maasjo has gone above and beyond to give clothing and items to the people in her community who need it most.
When she and her husband became foster parents, Maasjo began to see firsthand the amount of help that was needed.
The project developed out of her faith in the scripture of Matthew 25:36 which reads: “I needed clothes and you clothed me.”
“We’re hoping by filling that small physical need, that we are freeing up those peoples, free time and energy so they can focus on family, employment, sobriety, mental health, faith, whatever they need to,” said Maasjo.
The project started in 2019 when Maasjo was working at a consignment store and saw many items being donated to be resold.
She took matters into her own hands and started working out of the barn on her property.
She would personally pick up donations of any sort, and deliver them to families.
The project has blossomed in the last year, and thanks to her volunteers, they have been able to deliver to over 800 families across North Dakota.
“It feels so good to be able to volunteer for something so wonderful and meaningful to others who maybe don’t have it as well or just need that extra boost to get them going again,” said Samantha Fannik, a volunteer at Matthew 25 Project.
The project will soon have its own storefront, where those in need can come “shop” for free.
They hope to be moved in by the end of this summer.
She says the people that she helps remind her of herself, and wants a place for them to feel welcome and safe.
“They were just in situations where they were maybe living paycheck to paycheck and then something happened. There was a death in the family, they lost their job, COVID and they couldn’t make ends meet or they couldn’t buy their kid’s school clothes, or they had to choose between milk or a pair of jeans for their daughter,” said Maasjo.
She hopes to continue this project forever and hopes with more volunteers and generous donations, she can fulfill that passion.