County church serves at Jimmie Hale

Patsy Pillar, a member of a Sunday school class from the Church at Brookhills, serves food to homeless men at the Jimmie Hale Mission in Birmingham. (Contributed)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – A Sunday school class from the Church at Brookhills in North Shelby decided to begin ministering to those in need. The class has been serving at the Jimmie Hale Mission in downtown Birmingham for the past three years.

“It’s more of a blessing to us than them,” said Harry Hancock.

The group travels to the shelter for homeless men every fourth Wednesday of the month to serve food.

“If we didn’t go, I think some of the men in the class there would have to do the work we’re doing,” Hancock said. “They told us they have a Bible study after, so us going in and serving frees up those folks to wash the dishes and get to Bible study.”

Bonnie Hendrix, media manager for Jimmie Hale, said more than 8,100 volunteers served with Jimmie Hale in 2011.

“It means so much to us and to the gentlemen in our program,” Hendrix said. “Seeing, and knowing that someone else cares and wants to see them get back to life makes a big impact on them.

“I’ve been in the kitchen many times as volunteers have served, and the chorus of sincere ‘thank yous’ and ‘thanks for coming’ resound,” she added. “I have seen so many times the volunteers and clients talk and laugh and fellowship with each other – I like to think that everyone receives a blessing from this.”

The group of five to seven people serves more than 100 people on the nights they minister.

“It’s usually different people. I think it’s about a 12-week course these men are in,” Hancock said. “They live there on campus. The folks are rotating in and out. We don’t get to meet the same people every time.”

The Jimmie Hale Mission is a Christian-based, nonprofit organization that includes a homeless shelter for men and a shelter for women and children. The mission also supports recovery programs, learning centers and thrift stores.

“We love it. The people that have been going, there’s never been any question about doing it,” Hancock said. “Everyone loves to go down and do it.”

For more information, visit Jimmiehalemission.com.