Our Story

1997 - 2001:

Dewey and Barbara Sims had the idea of helping to feed the needy more than thirty years ago. At that time, their home pantry was meager, but they still managed to help those who were even needier than they were. This idea finally came to fruition in 1997 when they opened a food pantry at a local church. This food pantry grew from a six by eight foot room to a building that previously was a two-car garage. The first month in 1997, 70 families were given food. By the time the church based food pantry closed in 2001, this number had grown to 1,490 families a month.
Fishnet in a garage

2001: A move to larger quarters

The day after the decision to close the food pantry, God showed how He was behind the formation of a open-to-all, no restrictions, food pantry and Fishnet Missions was born. A large building was immediately provided, rent free, in a prime location of Jacksonville. Next, all the metal shelving that was necessary to store the food was donated.

Three primary sources of food gave their premise inspection and immediate okay: The Arkansas Food Bank, Potluck and Feed the Children. The Department of health gave a temporary approval with a few changes to be made for final approval (which was later obtained).

There were no hard-fought victories; God was fighting all the battles before Fishnet had a chance to skirmish. Dewey and Barbara had already paid most of the cost for an Army "Mobile Kitchen" and the money to finish paying for it came in during the first week. There were two freezers donated by Potluck and individuals donated two kitchen ranges, a forklift, two computers and printers. This was all done before Fishnet Missions even opened.

Fishnet New Building

We are Fishnet Missions.

Fishnet Missions of Jacksonville, Inc. is an organization dedicated to providing food for the needy and less fortunate people whenever they can be reached. It is a faith-based organization made up entirely of volunteer workers who work to collect the food and then prepare it for distribution. There are no paid workers at any level. Fishnet Missions is a 501(C)3 corporation and all contributions are tax deductible. Anyone coming through our door in need of food is never turned away. We give food to anyone and everyone in need.
Waiting in line

2002: Still Larger!

Later, more equipment was donated: a refrigerator, two microwaves and two large metal tables. The owner of the building came by to see how things were going on one of the food distribution days and seeing the crowd, decided Fishnet Missions needed more room and donated the rest of the building. Thus, Angels in Action had a meeting place.
Marshal Road Fishnet

Angels Among Us!

Angels in Action began as a group of women who met each Tuesday and did various projects to help Fishnet Missions recipients or the community as a whole. For Christmas 2002, they gave out 50 stockings and toys to needy children, and today the number reaches 250.

Angels in Action have provided clothes for prisoners and they also send cards to prisoners, servicemen who are deployed, and acquaintances that are sick and or in the hospital. The sick are visited and are taken a gift.

Later, as a new need was seen, they then took on a new project of delivering food to seniors and shut-ins. The Senior Sack program was born, and today it reaches some 450 households a month.

Waiting in line

2003 - Thrift Store

We opened an 6000 sqare foot Thrift Store, which will help support the financial needs of the Fishnet. We will also have a process in place for which anyone who is in need and cannot afford to shop will have the opportunity to receive clothing for his or her family for free. (We did this for the hurricane victims)
Fishnet Thrift Sop

2008 - Growing Again!

When Dewey and Barbara Sims and the other volunteers originally saw the Marshall Road building, the thought was that this was such a big place; would it ever be full of food? In a few short years Fishnet Missions had outgrown that expansive building and prayer went up for a larger building so that more people could be helped. Prayer was answered and that hope became a reality in 2008 with the building of a 12000 square foot distribution center on Swift Drive.
New Building Assembly


Today Fishnet Missions operates from a 12000 square foot warehouse building and a 6000 square foot Thrift Store. We are open to distribute food five days a week and collect food from Friends of Fishnet seven days a week. Our volunteers distribute eight TONS of food in our pantry operation each week to people in need, touching the lives of well over twelve thousand people a month.

Fishnet Missions also helps support a dozen other food pantries in the area. Each week is different, but often twenty five thousand pounds of food moves through our building and into the hands of those in need.

Homeless Ministries, Senior Sacks, Disaster Relief, Emergency Boxes, cards to prisoners, and support of local food ministries rounds out the rest of the Fishnet Missions story.

Fishnet Missions began in a closet and now, fourteen years later, has grown to touch the lives of twenty five thousand people a month.

New Fishnet BuildingInside FishnetInside FishnetInside Fishnet

The Future

Sadly, the need for help continues to grow. Currently, thirty new people are signing up for aid each week. Our direct distribution from the pantry has increased from an average of 220 people a week to 360 in the past three months. Soon we will have to be open more hours a week, just to care for those in need.

There is also a great need in our commmunity for a shelter that can provide temporary housing in an emergency. There is a need for an evening mission that provides meals and ministry. The list goes on.

Where is Fishnet going? Wherever God takes us. If the doors open, we will enter and work to help those in need. That is what we do at Fishnet Missions. That is our Story.

The Future

You can help!

Fishnet is run entirely by volunteers, and we need more of them. Please check the individual ministries - the Food Pantry, the Thrift Shop, the Homeless Ministries, and the Senior Sacks program pages for more details.

Another way to help is financially. Fishnet Missions is operated entirely by donations, and we could really use yours. Please see our Friends of Fishnet page for more information.

The Power of Prayer

Fishnet Missions depends upon donations and volunteers, but above all else the we need your prayers. Fishnet Missions was started with prayer, has grown through prayer, and will continue only with prayer. Please pray for us, that we will be good stewards of that which God has provided and that we will be able to reach those truely in need.