I am RIFA – Cassandra Fuller

We’d like to introduce you to RIFA’s Vice President of the Board of Directors, Cassandra Fuller. Serving on the board since July 2021, her term as Board Vice President began July 1st 2023. We’re so thankful to have her in this role. We spoke with Cassandra about how she came to know about RIFA and her involvement with the organization over the past few years. 

As a native of Huntingdon, Tennessee, in Carroll County, Cassandra remembers coming to Jackson to go shopping or for special occasions/events. So, before she even moved here, she already “knew” Jackson. In fact, her mother actually found Cassandra her first job through an advertisement in the local paper. Cassandra interviewed with the print shop and got the job as a graphic designer. She worked there for seven years, and then took a job with a local advertising agency for the next seven years. Then, she was hired by Jackson Energy Authority, and she’s been there ever since. This September, Cassandra will celebrate her 21st anniversary with JEA.

Cassandra first heard about RIFA through Canstruction. As JEA has been a sponsor from the very start, the engineers were all involved in the actual build of the structure. However, they needed some creative team members to be involved. “I fell in love with Canstruction and what it did for RIFA,” shared Cassandra. Then, she started to volunteer at RIFA. She served in the Soup Kitchen, with Snack Backpack, and Senior Staples. “Every time I volunteered, I learned more.” Working so closely with Canstruction allowed her to experience all of the other ministries of RIFA. Like so many others, she knew all about the Soup Kitchen, but through Canstruction, she learned there are seven additional ministries through which RIFA feeds the community.

For the past couple of years, Cassandra has served as part of the Canstruction Task Force. Having always served on the team that builds the structure, the task force gave her the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. The task force is responsible for sponsorship and table sales as Canstruction is the biggest fundraising event of the year for RIFA. She is also part of the team working on the current strategic initiative.

The one thing Cassandra said she hasn’t done yet that she really hopes to be part of this summer is the Bus Stop Cafe. The Bus Stop Cafe travels daily in the summer (along with spring break and fall break) to deliver meals to children in vulnerable areas of the city. In 2022, Cassandra helped with Help-Portrait. Help-Portrait is an event at RIFA each December where participants have their portrait taken, printed, and given to them at no cost. She shared about one patron in particular, who came into RIFA on Help-Portrait day: “She was so excited. She came in and got all done up, picked out an outfit and was just tickled to death. She had her picture taken and came back to the front. She shared part of her story and then asked if she could hug me. She said, ‘I just feel so beautiful.’  I won’t say her name, but we’ll call her Mary. She said, ‘it’s Mary Day.’ When she walked out, she was so happy and so proud of herself. It was so neat. The men are the same way. They love it, too.”

When asked if she ever thought she’d be the board vice president, Cassandra answered no. She thought she would simply perform her duty as a board member for just the one term. One of the main reasons she wanted to be on the board for RIFA was because it’s an actual working board. They are not just a group of people who get together to talk about things. They actually work together to get things done in the best interest of RIFA, its patrons and employees.

One of Cassandra’s main goals as Vice President of the board is to help communicate to the general public that RIFA is more than just the Soup Kitchen. While the Soup Kitchen serves an incredibly vital role, there are so many other ways that people benefit from RIFA’s presence in the community. With the move to the Airways location and the expansion 11 years ago, RIFA is able to accommodate more people and better serve patrons. She really wants to help highlight all the ministries, in addition to the Soup Kitchen.

We asked Cassandra to share about how she’s seen Christ at work in her time at RIFA. She shared, “At Help-Portrait. I believe God had sent that woman to share her story with us and experience his love. I’ve also seen him work through prayer. When a need comes up, whether it’s financial or a situation, I’ve seen him come through many times. We’ll ask how are we going to do this or how are we going to pay for that, and straight from the hand of God it comes down and lands at RIFA.”

One other thing Cassandra noted is the daily prayer time at RIFA. One day, she was dropping off something at the front office. As she entered the door, she noticed that everyone was standing there with their heads bowed–she was afraid something had happened. Then, they all looked up and invited her into the circle telling her it was prayer time. She said, “I thought, wow, maybe I was supposed to come at just this time because I had no clue it was prayer time. I hopped right in. What other business does that? There are some that may gather and pray but where else has a specific time every day that they pray? It’s amazing.”

Cassandra also mentioned the Thrift Store. She said, “I visit quite often and use an item every day that I purchased there–my green purse! I get so many compliments from people about it and I proudly tell them, ‘I got it at RIFA’s Thrift Store–you should check it out!’ When I shop there, I always try to speak to the staff and volunteers to get to know them and to let them know they are appreciated by not only RIFA but also the Board.”


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