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Gods Mission House moves into new facility at First Baptist Springfield
Joe Marchese of Joe Marchese Construction gives words of thanks after construction of the new facility was completed. Construction of the new facility was under Marchese’s direction. From left to right are Marchese of Joe Marchese Construction, Linda Fortson, Earnie Fortson and Dewayne Deal of Joe Marchese Construction. - photo by Photo provided

Feb. 9 was a day of celebration for a local Effingham food pantry ministry called God’s Mission House. God’s Mission House opened its doors to a new facility on the campus of the First Baptist Church of Springfield with a special ribbon cutting and time of prayer on this special day.

God’s Mission House began in the home of Josie Zittrouer in the early 1970s. For years “Mrs. Josie” served those in need from her own pantry and later, with the help from her husband James Zittrouer, from the family barn. Out of a love for God and a deep compassion for people, Mrs. Josie dedicated her life to meeting the needs of those who found themselves in need of food. It was her desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus by meeting the practical needs of people.

With Mrs. Josie’s passing in the summer of 2007, the ministry was taken on by her daughter Linda Fortson and her husband Earnie. Though they had been involved in the ministry already, they felt compelled to carry on this very important ministry started by Linda’s mother, Josie.

God’s Mission House provides food and clothing to those in need. They receive referrals from organizations such as DFACS, The United Way, Concerted Services, Victim Witness, as well as area churches. God’s Mission House also serves those who find themselves in emergency situations who require immediate resources. Food for the pantry is received by donations from various individuals and churches as well as some assistance from the American Second Harvest organization. God’s Mission House is also able to buy some food at cost from various food distributors and grocery stores. In January God’s Mission House reported serving 5,405 pounds of food to help 107 families, helping 317 individuals.

The new facility includes a large warehouse area, upstairs clothing loft, reception and lobby area and offices. The First Baptist Springfield benevolence ministry will also be housed in the new building. The construction of the new facility was under the direction of Joe Marchese of Joe Marchese Construction.

God’s Mission House is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information on services provided or ways you can volunteer at God’s Mission House visit the First Baptist Church of Springfield Web site at