Church of the Highlands members serve the community

A "serve team" from Church of the Highlands volunteered at a SafeHouse of Shelby County shelter in Columbiana on July 13. (Photo by Clarke Stackhouse/For the Reporter.)

A “serve team” from Church of the Highlands volunteered at a SafeHouse of Shelby County shelter on July 13. (Photo by Clarke Stackhouse/For the Reporter.)

By CLARKE STACKHOUSE / Staff Writer

Members of The Church of the Highlands lent a hand to numerous Shelby County non-profit organizations during the eighth annual Serve Day on July 13.

Serve Day is a statewide service project that takes place on all Church of the Highlands campuses, said Kendall Janorschke, Serve Day group organizer and Safe House board member.

More than 10,000 volunteers worked on various projects, from helping in nursing homes to assisting at SafeHouse of Shelby County, Janorschke said.

The large body of volunteers was split up into small groups, known as “serve teams,” and each team decided where they wanted to serve.

A serve team headed by Janorschke worked inside and out of a SafeHouse shelter, taking care of lawn work, cleaning and cooking for the residents.

“I work here a lot and I know the needs,” Janorschke said. “I got a group together to help clean it up and get ready for newer, better things.”

Valencia Albright, SafeHouse board member, said the shelter was about six years old and needed sprucing up.

“It’s a new era of SafeHouse,” Albright said. “It is time to renovate and update the shelter.”

She said a massive overhaul and rebranding are in the works for the organization, and the Serve Day helped by starting the prep work.

Serve Day volunteer Ashley Shelby said it was her first year participating in the project after being a member at the church for three years.

“I really wanted to give back and get involved,” she said. “It’s great to see people come together to serve a community.”

SafeHouse serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Shelby County, Chilton County, Coosa County and Hoover. The shelter is currently housing and helping 39 women and children, many who came to the shelter with only the clothes on their back, Albright said.

SafeHouse provides clients with the resources necessary to find jobs, continue education and start a safe life.