Stephanie Mitchum’s concern for inner-city and homeless individuals has earned the respect and acknowledgement of the National Association of Realtors, which recently awarded her one of five 2019 “Good Neighbor Awards.”
The Realtor, who lives in West Knox County and works out of Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace Realtors’ Farragut office, was singled out for her work as executive director of two ministerial non-profits she founded, Water Angels Ministries and Love & Mercy Ministries, both of which help homeless and low-income individuals.
“Ministry is a huge part of my heart, and I’m thankful to be able to work in an industry that not only encourages it but will support you in that as well,” Mitchum said. The NAR award provides a $1,000 monetary grant for her ministry and gives her a mentor for one year.
“My mentor is from Oregon and is a broker there, and his ministry is fully funded by the ministry, whereas mine is funded by my own tithes,” she said. “So, it will be awesome for his advice.”
Mitchum started Water Angels in 2002, which began as a one-time Girl Scout service project providing bottled water to the homeless, before expanding to include weekly worship services and clothing needs.
She left that program in 2017 to start Love & Mercy Ministries, which provides Bible studies and mentoring to Knoxville inner-city youth. A Bible study for the homeless meets every Tuesday morning.
“With the kids we have Bible studies and service time,” Mitchum said. “But (we) also help them apply for FAFSA and college applications. None of the kids’ parents are college graduates, and my goal is to see at least one graduate from college or trade school.
“I also help them with state IDs so they can obtain jobs.”
In the last year alone, Mitchum estimated she gave more than 500 hours of her time and helped raise more than $15,000 for Love & Mercy Ministries. She has helped four inner city youths apply to enter college and is in the process of assisting two more.
Additionally, Mitchum has helped more than a dozen homeless enter rehabs, housing or employment over the last two years, according to information from Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, Realtors.
“She is amazing,” said Anne Williams, principal broker for Coldwell’s Farragut office. “I knew she did ministry for people in need, and knew of her huge heart, but we had no idea of the extent.”
For more info about Mitchum’s passion project, visit www.loveandmercyministriesknox.org.