Mary Jo Copeland
Copeland is founder and director of Sharing & Caring Hands, a nonprofit organization for the homeless and those in need. The people on the streets of Minneapolis call her their “street mother.” City officials call her an extraordinary leader and an urban saint. Her goal is doing the will of God by bringing hope to people’s lives. The mother of 12, Copeland started Sharing & Caring Hands in 1985 as a vehicle for concerned people to get directly involved in meeting the needs of the less fortunate and to meet the needs of those falling through the cracks of our government system. Sharing & Caring Hands has grown from a small volunteer organization with a $5,000/month budget to a large volunteer organization that spends more than $500,000/month on the needs of over 20,000 people monthly. This work is done out of two buildings, Sharing & Caring Hands and Mary’s Place, located at the edge of downtown Minneapolis. In 1995, Copeland built Mary’s Place, a transitional shelter for families of two or more minor children. Mary’s Place has since been expanded twice and now houses more than 600 people, most of them children.