Women & Work

Frances Chaisson, Co-Founder of Operations at Salty Family Services

Frances Chaisson

Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Salty Family Services


Frances Chaisson was born and raised in Puerto Rico but has called Florida her home for over 25 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Studies from Eckerd College.

Over the years Frances experience grew both in ministry and corporate settings as an administrator and within the project management field. In 2013, Frances and her husband Jeff co-founded a non-profit focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Two years later this non-profit joined the mission of Salty Church.

Today, Frances works in full-time ministry where she leads the operations of Salty Family Services along with her husband Jeff. She is also a mom to her 17-year-old adopted daughter and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach.

When not at the office or coaching her clients, you can find her at the gym, with family, cooking, or penning her thoughts on paper.

Please share with us a little bit about your story and the ministry that you and your husband co-founded.

My husband and I founded a ministry called Salty Family Services in 2016. He worked for many years in social services, and my job experience was in operations administration and project management. We both felt called to fill a need in our community. My husband identified things within his work and in our community that were falling through the cracks. There were families at risk, but there was no active abuse and neglect happening. These families lacked the support system needed to thrive and to be empowered.

My husband came home from work one day and asked me if there was anything else that we could do. That started the whole vision planning for our ministry. We put up large post-it notes in our spare bedroom and started dreaming. We realized that God used that time to start developing a nonprofit to help families in need. We worked hard for a couple of years on our own until we realized that we couldn’t do it by ourselves anymore. Our church came alongside us and started supporting the ministry. We began to have conversations with our pastor and Salty Family Services became a fiber of the church.

We see in the book of Acts that the church steps outside of the four walls of their meeting place to serve one another as well as to provide for their community. They put the needs of each other before themselves. That is the vision of our ministry and we’ve been doing this now for six years.

I can't be impressed with myself. It's only because of God that I am able to do good work.

How did you come to recognize the gifts God has given you, and what are some of the motivations for leveraging those gifts for the kingdom of God and for his glory? How do you seek to represent Christ and image Him through your work?

Just to be honest, I really don’t think that I recognized what my gifts were until later. I realized that the experiences God had given me in administration and project management were all a part of His plan to help me later on with the work of the ministry. For me, it was just work, but later I found myself implementing or using the things that I had learned from the past to help me in the present.

I started realizing that God took my husband and I and put together our set of gifts so that the ministry could thrive. I also came to recognize my giftings as my husband called them out in my life. When I would maybe question, I can’t do this, or I just don’t know what I’m doing. He’s like, of course, you can.

Sometimes when we don’t see what our gifts and talents are it is helpful to have other people see what you’re bringing to the table and have them identify these gifts for you. In hindsight, I now know why God placed me in the jobs that I had and what all my experiences were for. God used those things to build His ministry.

The motivation for leveraging my gifts really comes every single day as I step in to see the results of supporting the ministry in the capacity that I am in. I do confess that there have been times over the years when I felt like I am not the one necessarily making a difference. I often don’t work directly with the families. We have mentors that do that and my husband does that. Sometimes I ask myself, am I really making a difference? I have to be reminded by my husband and others that my gifts are needed, which represents the body of Christ.

God uses everyone and He pours into us so that we can support each other’s work and can encourage one another to build His kingdom. It took me a little while to realize that, but every day when I come to work and have the opportunity to see people and to see families, I realize that even my job in operations is also needed. God put me here for a reason, and for this role and has shown me that believers all make up the body of Christ.

Our guiding scripture for the ministry is Matthew 25:40. In this scripture it says, “Truly, I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” That has always been something that my husband and I really hold dear in our hearts because it is why we do what we do.

We serve the community and meet the needs that exist because it is really Jesus Christ who we are serving. We are all His creations and made in His image. I am reminded daily that He has given me His hands and feet to serve, whether it is for the people here, our staff, our volunteers, or the community that we serve. I am doing it for Him, to Him, and through Him.

Sometimes when we don’t see what our gifts and talents are it is helpful to have other people see what you're bringing to the table and have them identify these gifts for you.

What are some of the challenges you have experienced and how have you seen God at work around you or despite them? How has God used the relationships that you have developed in challenging times for His glory and your good?

We’ve been through a lot of challenges and we were promised that we would, right? We know that life isn’t going to be easy and that we will have hard seasons. I can think of at least a couple immediately that come to my mind. The first one is very personal.

I’ve experienced a couple of miscarriages before we brought my daughter into our home. Those were very painful. It was a dark season and so difficult for me personally, as well as for my husband. It made me question a lot of things about myself, but it never made me question the Lord and His goodness. The Lord is so merciful and he allowed me to see later on that through those miscarriages I did develop relationships where I was able to encourage others.

I also saw a different side of my husband and how God was growing him in his faith. I grew in my dependence on the Lord through that experience, and He grew my heart as a mother. He gave me a mother’s heart so that when my daughter came to live with us when she was 14 years old I already loved her. We found out that we were going to get her at 8:00 AM on a Monday morning. As soon as we learned about the need for her to have a home and a family the Lord brought our hearts together. My husband and I were both in the same boat and we looked at each other and knew that she was coming to live with us. At nine o’clock at night, that same day, she was home.

When that happened, the church surrounded us because I had no idea how to deal with a teenager. I didn’t know what food teenagers liked. I had broccoli and chicken in my fridge. Somebody from my church came and took me shopping. It was a mad rush. I’m like, what does she need? What does she need? I had no clue. They took me shopping for everything that she needed such as a hairbrush, toothbrush, and clothes. I’m like, oh yeah, she needs all that. The community came together and still to this day supports us in our journey of parenting.

In terms of ministry, I think I’m challenged every day to really understand what the Lord wants from me. Some days I have plans and I come here to the office and everything is different than what I thought it would be. I always remember on those days that nothing surprises God and that I need to be flexible and available.

Even through that, when things have happened the way that I don’t think they were going to happen, my volunteers step up and we get a chance to have experiences with people together. We always learn so much from their life experiences and from their pain. It’s amazing. All these relationships that I have developed have really impacted my life and shaped me every day that I’m here.

God uses everyone and He pours into us so that we can support each other's work and can encourage one another to build His kingdom.

How do you keep yourself encouraged that the work you’re doing is valuable and worthwhile when the world tells women to believe otherwise? Are there any scriptures God has given you to keep you present in the work to which He has called you?

In my office, I have a verse on my board, Galatians 6:5-8. It says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (MSG)

I read those verses every morning and the reason I do this is because of those first few words which say make a careful exploration of who you are. I like to sit and be with the Lord for a few minutes, just before I start my day and understand who I am. I’m a child of God. The Lord has appointed me to be here. I do have gifts that He has given me to do the work that He has appointed for me.

I ask God, what does that mean for me today? I realize that I need to pay attention, be diligent, be available and flexible and work unto the Lord. Everything that I am doing is for Him and His glory. He has given me the opportunity to use my gifts. I do the work that He has planned for me. My day becomes focused all around Him. Once I understand who I am and the work that He has given me, then I can say, this is all for the Lord.

Another part of the verse says don’t be impressed with yourself, which reminds me that I can’t be impressed with myself because it’s only because of God that I am able to do good work.

There are so many times when situations come across our office that devastate us, but we know that God and God alone is in control. Our primary weapon is to go to the Lord in prayer and to lift up our situations to Him. I realized not to dwell on the things that I cannot control and to seek after God because He can do the work through me. That is completely humbling and encouraging at the same time.

We wanted to invite people to be encouraged to apply their gifts and their talents and understand that the work God puts in front of them is to serve their community and to make a difference.

How has the local church played an important role in your ministry at Salty Family Services, and how have you empowered your volunteers to see that they are making a difference in the kingdom of God?

The vision and the dream that my husband and I had was to mobilize the church, to actually be the church. We wanted to see the church follow the model given in the book of Acts. We wanted to invite people to be encouraged to apply their gifts and their talents and understand that the work God puts in front of them is to serve their community and to make a difference.

The way we do this in our ministry is very unique. We have a few opportunities with our partner churches and our home church throughout the year to present the ministry to the congregation as a reminder to them of what we’re doing, to celebrate what has been done, and to invite them to join us. We ask the members to tell us what their talents and gifts are and if they would be willing to provide for a family in need.

They fill out a little contact card with their information and we ask them what it is that they can provide. Some people can provide transportation to a job interview. Other people can provide mechanical services or plumbing or cleaning or laundry or grocery shopping or gas cards. For those that don’t know what they can do, it gives us an opportunity to have a conversation to help them discover that yes, you do have a way you can serve as well.

Through this side of our ministry, it has created this ripple effect and we are able to make so much more of an impact through people in our community, outside the walls of the church to really activate our faith and work out our faith because the Lord loves to use His people. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, and we simply provide those opportunities and people are radically changed. That’s what we love to do.

We all have seasons of fruitfulness and seasons of dryness, which is why we have to stay connected to Him.

Can you share with us a favorite story of a family that your ministry has impacted?

I think of a certain lady now who has been changed through our ministry, and it’s just so encouraging because she is still connected with us and we have seen her grow so much.

There was a single mom living in another state going through a domestic abuse situation. Because of that, she and her children went to stay in a home with some relatives in Florida. The house either went into foreclosure or was being sold so she couldn’t stay there very long. That brought her to live in our area. She didn’t have a job and was running out of resources. One day she felt like the Lord was telling her to go do her laundry. She said, “I don’t understand why I have this need to go do my laundry, but I will go.”

She walked seven blocks from where she was staying to this laundromat. Our home church happened to be there, doing what we call the laundry love. We do laundry for everybody in the laundromat and pay for it as well. She was totally moved by this act of care.

During lunch one of our pastors sat down with her and had a conversation. She told them her story and he said, you need to call Salty Family Services because they will help you. So she called, and the whole process started. We have an intake team of volunteers that took her information. She was assigned a mentor, which is what we do, and that mentor helped her change her life.

Because of our network of resources, she was able to get a job and have a place to live. Long story short, she is now able to hire people because she has her own business. She is now in a very stable place on her own and she actually just closed on a house a couple of weeks ago.
We provided her with a support system, and she was empowered to then live a life of stability. And now she is offering opportunities to others to be able to sustain their families and be stable.

That’s one story, and there are so many like that. We have families that are stuck paying rent at a motel because they were transitioning here and got stuck and can’t save money to get out of that situation. We have families that just need help creating a budget or getting a job.

Things like that we see every day and it’s through the power of relationships that we can sit down in somebody’s pain and walk with them through life. When you are in crisis you have a hard time thinking clearly, and we come alongside you to give you the tools that you need to succeed.

Do not neglect your relationship with God, even when it feels hard.

Are there any resources you would recommend?

I have to tell you there, the main thing for me, and I don’t say this lightly, is spending time with God every day in His word. We all have seasons of fruitfulness and seasons of dryness, which is why we have to stay connected to Him. I have to be intentional in my time with God, even when I don’t feel like it, or even when it feels like He’s far off, just to be disciplined, to sit down, and to say here I am.

In those moments when I feel like I can’t even pray, I spend time with God anyway and ask for His strength. Having that time first thing every morning is my secret sauce because you know, just to be with the Lord gathers your strength. Do not neglect your relationship with God, even when it feels hard. That’s the one thing that I can’t live without, and I know that even when I sometimes do fall, I know the Lord is with me.

Personally, I write a blog where I share my heart and the things that I am learning. My dream is to spend more time pouring into that and to share more encouragement with others and what we are doing in our community.

I would also encourage women to use their church as a huge resource in their lives. Have like-minded women as well as women from other walks of life teach you and pour into you. Have a time where you can laugh and share what’s going on in your heart and in your life.

The church should be more than just people meeting on a Sunday. We must go out and practice what we’ve learned. That is so important because not only have I seen that make a difference in my life but also in the families that we serve. Isolation and not having a system of support is not the way it’s supposed to be. God made us to be in community.


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