Melissa, who comes from a successful background in business and internet marketing, created the Shoals Area Families Foundation to advocate for the impoverished and underprivileged. The Shoals, a group of cities in NW Alabama, has historically struggled with high levels of poverty. Melissa, a Shoals-area native, spent twenty years in Tampa. When she returned back to the community, she made a complete lifestyle change and created a project that effected change for impoverished families.
Through the program, families that request assistance also sign up as part of an innovative “give back program,” where in exchange for support, they agree to volunteer at her Thrift Shop. The financial assistance is not a handout- it is a hand up. Additionally, her goal is to help them complete an education, teach them new skill sets, and to empower them to have a better life. Melissa wants to do more than just help with a bill or debt – she wants to break the cycle of impoverishment. Her tagline is: “One Person At A Time Over The Poverty Line”.
Melissa has started several other projects under the SAF umbrella. She teaches etiquette and soft life skills to area students, she gives away free dog & cat food to seniors, the disabled and the unemployed, and offers a low-cost spay/neuter program to the impoverished. Project Christmas provides presents for families that may have lost a job. SAF provides clothing and toys to the kids while the family as a whole gets some much-needed groceries.