History of Red Tub Day & Memphis Family Connection Center
By: Mylissa Horrocks.
Mylissa is a co-founder of and Director of Operations at Memphis Family Connection Center.
Mark and Tona Ottinger are the type of passionate Christians that believe the church is the vehicle Christ uses to meet the needs of His children. In 2009, after many years of connection to the foster and adoptive community, they stepped out in faith to serve.
First came the 1.17 family ministry. The work of “1.17” arose out of Engage Memphis’ vision to provide funding to Fellowship members that were seeking to grow their families through adoption. The Ottingers saw a deep need for pre and post-adoptive and foster families to gather and care for one another. As a result, 1.17 grew into monthly gatherings, a robust lending library, an online support forum, and Empowered to Connect parenting classes.
During this time, Mark felt that the church needed a deeper connection to the wider scope of foster care throughout Shelby County, so he joined the foster care review board (Shelby County Juvenile Court). One of the purposes of this volunteer group is to assess the services provided for young people as they traverse the system. Through his service to the Court and Department of Children’s Services (DCS), Mark became aware of the needs of children in care as well as the needs of the system that supports them.
Through a strong relationship built with DCS, the “Red Tub Day” project was launched. Foster families would receive a large tub filled with gifts that a child in their home had requested. And to top it all off, there would be an exciting Christmas party complete with Santa, crafts, snacks, and a petting zoo.
The next phase was to fulfill a long-held vision. The Ottingers dreamt of a place that adoptive, foster and special needs families could call their own – a healthcare clinic that would serve the whole family during their parenting journey. Clinical care, community services, peer mentoring, parent training, and coordinated support would be offered at a significantly reduced cost to alleviate the financial burden.
And so Memphis Family Connection Center (MFCC) was born. Founded in 2016 through the support of Fellowship Memphis and other partner churches, MFCC has served over 700 families with family-centered holistic counseling, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutritional support, and parent mentor services.
Additionally, the MFCC team of 21 professionals serves Shelby County by providing trauma-informed training to over 40 churches, organizations, and healthcare entities in the area.
The very first Red Tub Day served 30 families in care, through a partnership with Fellowship Memphis. Since 2010, the project has filled over 3700 tubs for children in partnership with eight local churches, and Fellowship Memphis families have filled 1541 of those tubs! In addition to the Red Tubs, Red Tub Day financial offerings have supported the ongoing work of the Memphis Family Connection Center.
Your monetary gift is critical to ensure that MFCC will continue to provide more than 5,000 appointments for children and families over the next year. To become a part of this movement, you can give at http://redtubday.com.
Fellowship, it has been amazing to watch your continued commitment to Red Tub Day. The impact you are having on the lives of children both at Christmas and throughout the year is enormous. We are grateful for every one of you and consider you all as partners in this important work.