Through the efforts of one local business owner during the Christmas season, the MUST Ministries organization received a sizeable donation to help those in need during a difficult time.

Mark Preetorius with Massage Envy visited the MUST Ministries center in Canton Wednesday morning to present the agency with $1,000 collected through donations collected through a Christmas display in his front yard.

“I had a huge Christmas display in my yard this past year,” Preetorius said. “Santa ‘Papa Mark’ was out every night, waving to the kids, passing out candy canes and wishing folks ‘Merry Christmas.’ I had signage directing folks to donate to MUST Ministries, as I know they do really good work in our county helping feed needy folks. The website gained donations that I cannot measure, but we actually collected in cash $1,000, mostly from kids, a dollar or two at a time, from the surrounding neighborhoods, and from my employees at Massage Envy Canton.”

MUST Ministries Cherokee County Liaison Kendall Jones added, “People tell us, ‘thank you for what you do.’ We’re only able to do what we do through partnerships with have with the community. This is an affirmation of the partnerships we have.”

Preetorius said that, when he put out the sign at his Christmas display, those enjoying the lights and decorations in his front yard had nothing but positive things to say about his efforts to help MUST Ministries. He believed that his efforts had some effect in helping better educate people of how great of a need there is for assistance like that offered through MUST Ministries, thus leading to the amount of money collected through the display event.

With the money, Jones said the organization could put it toward wherever the need of its clients is greatest, including assistance with food, rent and utilities. The usefulness of Preetorius’ donation to MUST Ministries becomes even more important in the time of COVID-19, as Jones said the organization has handed out approximately 2 million pounds of food since the pandemic began, while MUST Ministries is currently on track to provide 2.5 million pounds of food to its clients in 2021.

Although this was only the first year for Preetorius’ front yard display, he said he wants to continue holding the event as a way to raise money for MUST Ministries, growing it to be bigger and better each time.

“We want to do our part to help. We would like to be able to raise more and more each year,” he said.

For those who wish to donate to MUST Ministries and aid in its mission to help those in need in Cherokee County, Jones said the best place to do so would be to go online to

Support Local Journalism

Now, more than ever, residents need trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by purchasing a digital subscription. Your subscription will allow you unlimited access to important local news stories. Our mission is to keep our community informed and we appreciate your support.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.