The people on the streets of Minneapolis call her their “street mother.” City officials call her “an extraordinary leader” and an “urban saint.” But Mary Jo Copeland, the founder and director of Sharing and Caring Hands, is not looking for praise. She knows from experience what it is to live in poverty and brokenness and she is striving to make the world a better place for the poor today. Copeland’s startup of Sharing and Caring is all the more remarkable given her painful past. She grew up in a family where her parents fought constantly and her emotionally disturbed father often beat her mother. Mary Jo was an emotionally deprived and socially dysfunctional child whom other children made fun of because they didn’t understand.
Her self-esteem was almost nonexistent, like that of many other people she helps today. But doing the will of God is Mary Jo’s goal and making a difference in bringing hope to people’s lives and letting them know, they’re not walking alone and God will always be with them.