History

Mississippi Christian Family Services (MCFS) was founded in March 1975 by Elvinah Spoelstra (Director) and Susie Evans (Teacher) after a need was determined for a training program for the mentally challenged in the Mississippi Delta Region.  The agency was sponsored by the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan after Spoelstra had developed a friendship with a CRC volunteer couple, Peter and Helen Vander Ark, while working at a medical clinic in Cary, MS.  Due to the lack of available buildings, the program was initially run out of Spoelstra's mobile home.  When the old Coca Cola bottling plant in Rolling Fork became available, Spoelstra called the Vander Arks, who brought a group of volunteers down to plan and implement the renovation of the plant.  In September of 1975, the renovation was complete at no cost to the agency and Spoelstra and Evans had their school.  This venture also created a passion in the Vander Arks for the ministry and the couple began coming yearly to volunteer.  Peter Vander Ark began fundraising and even got his own local church, Alpine CRC, to begin giving yearly donations.  When the Vander Arks got tired of "scrounging," they started an auxiliary to support MCFS.  This auxiliary solicited contributions and organized donated goods for the agency.  This auxiliary still exists today and has continued to be a major supporter of the ministry at MCFS.  MCFS was incorporated in the State of Mississippi as a private non-profit organization on September 25, 1975 and has continued to grow in the number of individuals served.