Ministry helps children, families in need
Published 3:27 pm Thursday, March 10, 2016
By SAMANTHA HURST / Special to the Reporter
ALABASTER – Members at Soldiers of the Cross in Alabaster see their ministry expanding.
The church dedicated a physically larger sanctuary March 6, yet Pastor Denita Ryan said it’s the ministry’s outreach that is truly growing.
“In this ministry, many of us have low-income family members or neighbors,” Ryan said. “And the area near us needs a lot of help; a lot more structure and support for our neighbors in need.”
Where are ministry members placing their focus?
Ryan said their initial aim is to support single parents who have few options for assistance.
In January, they launched the program New Beginnings. This effort transports anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen kids from school to the ministry, where they receive tutoring from volunteers and trained teachers.
“These are very underprivileged kids,” Ryan said. “They often don’t have anywhere to go after school where someone can help them with homework. This is something we can do that helps both them and their parents.”
Another function of the ministry is a program recently started called A Special Place. Ryan said volunteers from the church have worked with owners of dormant homes nearby to waive deposits or even a few months of rent for struggling individuals. Ryan said many of these people otherwise might become homeless or live in homes without heat or electricity.
Ryan said getting the person placed in a new home isn’t the end of their interaction. She said many times ministries might fix a piece of the puzzle and that be it.
“We work on the whole person,” Ryan said. “We want them to have a job. We want them to be able to pay their rent and take care of their kids.”
Helping an individual get to where they need to be takes a lot more work than simply providing them with a solution for one problem, Ryan said. It also takes more than just money. Ryan said volunteers from the ministry form friendships with the people they help.
They take them out shopping or to dinner. They get to know them and really talk to them about life, she said. Through those one-on-one relationships, Ryan said the ministry better understands where they can be of real service to their neighbors and show them the church cares for them in a tangible way.
“What we do is try and pull our resources together to take care of people without singling anyone out,” Ryan said.
If you know of someone in need, Soldiers of the Cross can be reached at 205-663-4101.