Mama J’s Helping Hand was started in 2010 in the living room of local Sneads Ferry resident Jeanette Lopez - affectionately known as "Mama J." As a mother to two young adolescents, Mama J started by
helping young pregnant girls who felt they had nowhere else to turn. She offered them a listening ear, guidance, access to helpful resources and a caring heart. As friends heard about what she was doing, they began making donations of needed items for the mothers and their infants. The more
involved she got in the ministry, the more people came to her
for help - people with all types of needs. Mama J knew there was a tremendous need for an
outreach program in the small village of Sneads Ferry. In 2012, she took action and with the help of committed volunteers and other supporters, the organization became an an official 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization.
In 2014, the Board of Directors, along with a dedicated group of volunteers and donors, completed a renovation to the current Mama J's Helping Hand location at 2205 Highway 172 in Sneads Ferry. The renovation allows for the ministry to serve more in our community in new and exciting ways.
New Executive Director
Susan M. Duncan has been
the Interim Executive Director of Mama J’s Helping Hand since December 2014. Susan comes to MJHH with over 25 years of experience with non-profit organzations. She had graduated from
East Carolina University and was living in Cary, NC when she discovered her
desire to make a difference in the world. After a particularly good sermon one Sunday, she felt a calling to somehow live
out her faith in our world but she had no idea where to begin…..the challenges seemed
so great. No doubt it was a miracle that Betty Anne Ford, one of the founders
of Loaves and Fishes Ministry, spoke at Cary Presbyterian Church just a few
Sundays later. That following Monday, Susan went and helped serve lunch to the
children in the Loaves and Fishes summer camp. That was it – Susan was hooked…she felt what it was
like to be needed, even if a very small way.
For the next 13 years, Susan owned a marketing company in Raleigh that focused on promoting non-profit organizations across North Carolina. When she was ready for a change, she moved to
Wilmington. With the desire to help
young people still intact, she found time to volunteer
each week with an after school program that she helped start at a local public
housing community. While in Wilmington, she also completed her
Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University.
In 2004, Susan learned that the founders of Loaves and Fishes
Ministry had plans to retire. They came to Wilmington and spoke to Susan about
the possibility of her taking over as Executive Director. Susan could not
imagine that at all. First, she lived in Wilmington where she was very happy
and, second, she wasn’t looking for a job.
But Susan could not get Loaves and Fishes off her mind and in June
2004, Susan’s wonderful life went through another great change when she became
the Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes Ministry. Susan continued as the Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes Ministry until December 2011 when she moved to Sneads Ferry, NC.
2015 Board of Directors
Howard Orr, Board ChairMandy Hamra, Secretary