Marjorie Hurder: US-2 in Salt Lake City
by Julia Kayser
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can find Marjorie Hurder
at the State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City. She will be fist-bumping the janitorial staff, greeting legislators by name, and keeping an eye out for "goofy ties" covered in "loony tunes, polka dots, and musical instruments." But it's not all fun and games; she's with the Coalition of Religious Communities (CORC) lobbying on behalf of the poor. Recently she's been working on a bill that would give employers a tax credit for hiring the homeless. "Why not have an incentive for people to hire those who most need work but who might not appear to be prime candidates?" she writes in her blog
Marjorie is serving as a US-2 missionary
for The United Methodist Church. Fresh out of college, she moved from her home in Louisiana to Salt Lake City, Utah, to begin work with Crossroads Urban Center
. "I knew that I wanted to do something that helped people," she says. This nonprofit organization works to alleviate poverty and injustice for the urban poor in their community. It also has a close relationship with the Methodist Church as a National Mission Institution. Volunteers who travel to the UMCOR West supply depot
to assemble relief-supply kits often visit Crossroads during their mission trips to get a sense of the issues affecting locals. "We are so, so supported by the Methodist community in Salt Lake City," says Marjorie.
The executive director of Crossroads, Glenn Bailey, served as a US-2 when he was a young adult. He has fond memories of the time he spent doing community organizing with the Neighborhood Services Organization in Oklahoma City. "I was about three-quarters of the way through my US-2 term when I felt a calling to spend my life working with the poor and oppressed," he writes. "That's what I've done ever since." His experience as a US-2 prepared him well for work at Crossroads. And he's stayed connected to the US-2 system: "I have been privileged to work with five US-2's at Crossroads since 2001," he says. Marjorie is one of them.
Her daily work is varied. When she's not advocating at the capitol, she often works in the food pantry that Crossroads operates. She fills orders, helps in the office, manages intake, and does odd jobs. On Monday and Wednesday mornings, she helps with the Homeless Opportunities and Rights Network (HORN), handing out bus passes and connecting people to vital resources. In October, she attended a retreat with the local UMW. She says she was blown away by all the "do-gooders" who have been at it so long. "That's the kind of person I want to be when I grow up," she says.
Art Sutherland, who helps CORC with legislative projects, affirms that the Crossroads staff is truly inspiring. "Their efforts could easily earn them higher compensation in private industry," he writes, "but they choose to put up with the frustrations they face because of their sympathy and dedication to the people they serve." Interacting with the staff is his favorite part of the work. Another volunteer, Dale McCormick, is involved with both CORC and the food pantry. "It warms my heart to be able to supply food to those in need," he writes. "I just hope we are making people's lives easier." Marjorie and her co-workers are true assets to the Salt Lake City community.
Donations to support Marjorie in her US-2 Missionary service can be made to Advance #3021352
Photo: Melissa Hinnen
Caption: Crossroads Urban Center, Food Co-op Distribution