Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Redeeming Lives, One Can at a Time for Mercy Ministries

If there’s one verse Barb Murphy lives by, it’s Zechariah 4:10: "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin (NLT)." This was her motto when she saw Founder and President of Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn, being interviewed on Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer. Having struggled with an eating disorder for 30 years, Barb couldn’t believe there was a place where girls could get help free of charge. “I want to sow into that,” she thought, and immediately started giving what she could to Mercy from her salary as a bus driver in Colorado.

But Barb wanted to do more. “I started asking God, ‘How can I help? How can I come up with more money when the economy is so bad?” she said. That’s when Barb got the vision to recycle cans. She says that when she sees a can, to her it represents a life. “We’re a little banged up, and some of us are really smashed, like some cans are. But you can send a can off somewhere, and it comes back shiny and new. No matter how bad it is, it comes back shiny and new. And I said, ‘That’s what I want to do for hurting young women. I want to recycle their lives.’”

Barb calls her ministry Cans for Hope.  She started small, collecting pop cans and turning them into cash. Now she loads her truck full of scrap metal, collects used batteries from several local businesses and recycles used appliances. She distributes 33-gallon containers in more than three dozen drop-off locations, including Denver-area residences, churches, banks and other businesses.

Cans for Hope now sponsors two girls through Mercy Ministries’ Sponsor a Girl program. “Not only do I know that when I send a check every month, a girl’s getting taken care of free of charge and she’s finding out about Jesus, but I don’t have to worry about the doors closing due to lack of funding.” Barb’s dream is to sponsor an entire Mercy home, but even then she won’t be satisfied. “I had some people ask me, ‘When will the [donations] be enough?’ I said, ‘Never. Not until all the girls are taken care of. All.’”

Words can’t adequately express how grateful we are for Barb’s dedication and support. Her heart for hurting young women is inspirational and we are so thankful for her time and sacrifice. To find out more about Barb Murphy and Cans for Hope, visit the website at or call (303) 875-5700. Click here to find out how you can Sponsor a Girl at Mercy Ministries.