Lakeview youth’s small group has big impact for GBHS

PELHAM – The teenagers who make up the youth of Lakeview Pelham’s First United Methodist Church came together over the past few weeks with a mission to organize and help take care of animals in need at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

The youth group spent several weeks bringing in necessary items for the humane shelter that they had been limited in due to a lack of volunteers and donations.

According to Tonya Moran, the youth group always tries to do some form of ministry, but due to the pandemic they were limited in their options. When they heard about the shortages that GBHS was facing they decided that this was an important cause to address.

“We put it out there to the youth group and asked what they wanted to do. They all suggested this because of their love for animals,” Moran said. “They have all adopted animals from there, and wanted to give back to them. It was a perfect fit, because with COVID we can’t do work with humans, but no one ever said anything about animals.”

The group began collecting items such as blankets, cat litter, newspapers, pet food, sheets, towels and toys mid-way through February. When the drive ended on March 14, Moran said that they had collected a truckload of items to give to the shelter.

“We ended up filling my husband’s truck with all of the donations,” Moran explained. “Every square inch of it was filled and we delivered that to the shelter along with $200 in monetary donations.”

Though the main focus of the drive was to benefit the shelter, Moran explained that the teenagers from Lakeview heavily benefitted through valuable life lessons from the impact of the animals and staff.

“I think it was a really good experience because they had hands-on experience with the animals,” she explained. They got to learn a lot about the animals and their needs, and how diligent the shelter is about trying to adopt them out to owners. Being able to know that they were contributing to feeding and helping those animals was very educational and they were all warmed by it.”

Even though the drive was meant to be a typical youth ministry, it became a bigger lesson on the impact that anyone person or group can have no matter their size or status.

“We are a church with just 11 youth,” Moran said. “We might be small, but we had a big impact.”