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Every Tuesday as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week we caught up with a teen helping a community remove barriers.

“I got a phone call from a high school student named Miller Manguno who wanted to know if his students at his school could help us in the Orange Mound community.”

Wes Richardson is the Director of mosaic Ministries.

“We spotlight different areas of the city. We target and try to make a difference for people who need help the most,” Richardson said.

That phone call was three years ago. Miller was a sophomore at Briarcrest High School and part of a service club called Wilson Society.

“I saw the need in the community when I came down for our schools mission day,” Miller said.

Miller Manguno and his group have been helping out ever since and created operation Orange Haven. With the rising cost of food, they know it limits the resources of those on fixed incomes.

“Rent is so expensive. My check was like five hundred and sixty dollars. My rent was like five hundred dollars,” Rose Jackson said.

The timing couldn’t have been better for Rose, a resident of Orange Mound who was struggling to make ends meet.

“This young gentleman right here, he gave me the tools to survive,” Rose said.

Operation Orange Haven utilizes Orange Mound Outreach Ministries as their home base. They drop off canned foods and other non perishable items. Once Miller started to hear about other needs in the community, he stepped into action.

“There are a number of children sleeping on the floor or sharing beds,” Miller said. If you’re having to sleep on the floor every night. If you’re having to change houses every night. Being able to establish your own bed, your own space, is good for yourself in every conceivable way.”

Miller teamed up with Wes and Mosaic Ministries to build bunk beds for families in the community. They also filled laundry baskets with detergent, fabric softener and rolls of quarters for the laundromat.

For Kevin Coleman, it wasn’t a hand out. It was a hand up while he was between jobs.  

“They were like ‘bam’, right there on the spot with like toiletries, clothes, linen,” Kevin said.

And for Christine Russell, who had numerous obstacles in life.

“It means a whole lot to me. Compared to what I’ve been through. It means a whole lot,” Christine said.

That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give operation orange haven a thousand dollars. Because when a teenager can bring hope to neighbors in need, we all can.

A true Community Changer.