About Us

Sharing the love of Jesus Christ to many families who struggle everyday.

Watch this video to find out what Mission Centers of Houston is all about.

Sharing the love of Jesus Christ to many families who struggle everyday.

Watch this video to find out what Mission Centers of Houston is all about.

An Overview of Our Mission

Mission Centers of Houston provides for the physical and spiritual needs of people living in Houston’s inner city. Through ongoing relationships, age-graded programs and mission partnerships we change lives with the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ.

Our work focuses on the eradication of the effects of multigenerational poverty and homelessness in the Magnolia Park and Near Northside communities. We empower children and adults through food security, homeless assistance, age-graded educational and recreational programs, spiritual development, coordination of long-term disaster recovery services, and community development initiatives.  We also serve as a hub for volunteer groups and the training of college-aged and young adults via resident internships.  And most recently we have been providing long-term recovery assistance to Hurricane Harvey victims in Northeast Houston.

Mission Centers also serves as a connection for churches, organizations, and individuals seeking mission opportunities in Houston. This happens through volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals at our existing mission centers and through our missionary training program.

Mission Centers of Houston is a subsidiary corporation of Union Baptist Association.  However, we are a stand-alone non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization with our own governing Board of Directors.  We are supported by individuals, churches, grants and our two annual fundraising events – Barbecue, Boots & Boogie in January and the MCH Classic Golf Tournament in May.

Since its inception, Mission Centers of Houston has been ingrained in the communities it serves. Many of the programs have come to fruition solely based on listening to the needs of the community. That listening and relationship building continues today through our dedicated area missionaries. Having both community mission centers as well as live-in missionaries in the communities we serve is a powerful and effective service model by which we can provide needed resources while building deep relationships to encourage and empower the afflicted. 

All gifts to Mission Centers are tax-deductible according to IRS guidelines.

Our History

The mission that would later be known as Mission Centers of Houston began in the 1940s when a ministry for impoverished families at Primera Iglesia Bautista Houston was moved to the Mexican Goodwill Center in Houston’s Near Northside community. The ministry site became the property of Union Baptist Association in 1962 and was later renamed the Fletcher Mission Center.  That year, Mildred McWhorter was appointed director of the center by the Southern Baptist Convention. For the next three decades, her name would be synonymous with Baptist ministry and service in inner-city Houston. The Fletcher Center provided food and clothing, after-school programs for children and teenagers, senior adult programs, ESL and GED classes, and Bible study classes.  

In 1980 the Gano Mission Center was opened as a second location in the Near Northside community.  At the same time the building formerly known as the Baptist Industrial Home was converted to a residence for visiting missionaries and volunteer groups.  The ministry also expanded the reach of its services in 1965 to Houston’s Greater East End with the opening of a third center, the Joy Mission Center, in the Magnolia Park community.   

In 2007 the Gano missionary building was demolished and the Mildred McWhorter Missionary Building was built in its place to house administrative offices and new missionary residential space.  In 2008 the Board of Directors voted to bring Fletcher, Joy and Gano Mission Centers under the single name, Mission Centers of Houston, opening the door for broader ministry and community partnerships.  Mission Centers of Houston has been transforming the lives of people in Houston’s inner city for nearly 60 years and will continue to do so as long as there are people who need our assistance. 

Our Programs

Over the course of its history, Mission Centers of Houston has grown to provide a variety of services that seek to encourage and improve the whole person: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our core services include food pantries, homeless assistance, afterschool children’s and youth clubs, senior adult fellowships, homebound visitation, college and youth internships, summer mission training and disaster recovery assistance. We accomplish this through our staff and volunteers as well as strategic partnerships with organizations who can offer additional services needed by our community residents (legal, financial, medical, educations, etc.) that are integrated into our programs. We continue to see the need for our services grow because of the lack of local resources for the residents of the Near Northside and Magnolia Park communities.  

Our volunteer-driven food pantries serve more than 2,500 people a month and are available to our clients twice a week, year-round, at both our center locations. We continue to see the need for these services to grow because of the lack of affordable and local resources for the residents of the Near Northside and Magnolia Park communities. During this past year we served 31,674 people through our food pantries, an increase of 78% over the previous year. Our volunteers also made a total of 1,060 homebound grocery deliveries this past year. Year-round our food pantries support our homeless population and low-income residents by providing them with food and hygiene products for their families.   

Two of our largest and most impactful programs are our children and youth clubs. Each week approximately 100 students are uplifted through an after-school program that includes recreation time, crafts, music and motion, a Bible story and age-graded discussions about the principles taught, and a small meal. In the summer months, our children and youth programs are expanded to three times a week to ensure students have access to food and positive extracurricular activities when school is not in session. Our children’s club serves kids ages 4 to 11 years old and our youth club serves youth ages 12 to 17 years old. Finally, every Christmas we provide a free Christmas store to the families of students enrolled in our programs.  

Our programs are supported and operated by a large contingent of dedicated volunteers. Last year we benefitted from 22,315 volunteer hours worked, the equivalent of 11 full time staff for a year. Our summer missionary program, which provides young adults and college students with ministry and non-profit experience, allows us to expand our programs during the summer, a time of year when most non-profits see a decrease in donations and volunteer support. Each year 12-15 college-aged interns spend 9 weeks with us being trained and running our ministry programs at both centers.

At the heart of all our programs are our area missionaries, married couples who live in and are dedicated to the communities we serve. The primary focus of these area missionaries is building relationships with community members and modeling the value of strong marital and family relationships. They also seek to identify and train community leaders to bring about transformation in their very own neighborhoods. In this model, our Joy and Gano Mission Centers serve as hubs for groups to gather and for the provision of services, while much of the personal and spiritual growth takes place in home-based connections in the community. 

As Mission Centers of Houston continues to adapt to meet the changing needs of the inner city in the areas we have traditionally served, we will be well positioned to expand our mission work into new areas of the city where the Lord leads us. We believe that the model of community-based ministry through missionary families will be the model that the Lord will use in the future.

Click here to see more details about our current ministry programs.

Community Demographics

Mission Centers of Houston has been uplifting the unfortunate and afflicted in Houston’s inner city for nearly 60 years, Currently, poverty rates in the neighborhoods we serve are more than double that of the state of Texas and Harris Country.  

With a population of approximately 26,000, Houston’s Near Northside neighborhood is 82 percent Hispanic/Latino. According to Houston Community Data Connections (www.datahouston.org), approximately 31 percent of the Near Northside population lives in poverty and 20 percent of all area households live on less than $15,000 a year. The problem disproportionately impacts children, with 50 percent of the community’s children living in poverty.  

Magnolia Park’s demographic data is very similar. It’s population of approximately 18,000 is 95 percent Hispanic/Latino. Approximately 31 percent of the community lives in poverty and 18 percent of area households live on an income of less than $15,000 a year.