Calera AOK demonstrates love for neighbors

Published 1:29 pm Monday, February 13, 2012

Calera AOK volunteers helped more than 700 neighbors at its October 2011 clothing giveaway. (Contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

People use the phrase “I love you” loosely, i.e. I love chocolate, I love this dress, I love this song. But what is “love” truly?

Jesus defined love in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus exhibited the highest expression of love by giving his life not only for his friends, but even more he gave it for his enemies (Romans 5:6).

How do you express love? Are you willing to sacrifice what could cost you everything? This could be your time, your career or your bank account.

A group of Shelby County neighbors are committed to year ‘round work of promoting, preparing and giving away clothing twice a year (March and October) to help their neighbors in Calera, Shelby County and surrounding communities who are experiencing hard times. The group is Calera Acts of Kindness (AOK), though truly it’s acts of love.

AOK volunteers met Jan. 30 to discuss the upcoming Spring Clothing Giveaway. Approximately 40 people committed to help with the Feb. 11 and Feb. 27 set-up days at the Calera National Guard Armory, Feb. 29-March 2 preparation days and March 3 giveaway day.

Rebecca Krueger, an AOK coordinator, overviewed the October 2011 drive.

“After several months of planning and a week of nearly 100 volunteers working 12-16 hours a days to prepare, clothing was distributed to more than 700 people. What a blessing to both the giver and receiver.”

Numerous organizations received the unclaimed clothing. One recipient, Daniel Cason Ministries, distributed clothing to more than 2,000 people at the “I Cared Enough” event held November 2011 at Birmingham’s Fair Park Arena.

Think of your fellow man. Give him a helping hand by sharing unwanted clothing. Gently used infant, children, teens, men’s and women’s spring and summer garments, shoes and stuffed animals can be dropped off at the Calera National Guard Armory on Eighth Avenue, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through March 2. Clothing will be distributed Saturday, March 3, beginning at 8 a.m. and ends when there is no longer clothing or shoppers. Unclaimed clothing will be distributed to various charitable organizations.

Needed supplies that can be dropped off at the armory: large plastic tubs, hand sanitizer, Scotch masking tape, sharpies, rubber bands and safety pins. Monetary donations and gift cards are also welcomed to purchase these items. (AOK isn’t a tax deductible non-profit organization. It’s simply neighbor helping neighbor.)

Volunteers are needed. For more information, contact Krueger at 281-1975 or email

Mollie Brown can be reached at