Summer Serve Days
What a summer!! We want to thank ALL the serve teams, students and adults, who came out to Grace Klein Community, in the heat, and helped us scrub this place clean, weed our garden, give our chickens a cleaner area to live in, assist with yard work, give our blessed box truck a shine, paint signs and boxes, help with repairs to our building, and so much more! In July we had The Church at Brook Hills Students, Briarwood Cheerleaders, a team from Church of the Highlands, students from”Do BigStuf,” and a team from America’s First Federal Credit Union serve alongside us! What a blessing to have so many willing hands and feet to serve in love!
Some of our volunteer groups are “regulars.” They are a part of the Grace Klein family and every few months they are back with more energy, more enthusiasm, more laughter, more singing and more creative ideas and solutions. One of these special groups are the students from The Church at Brook Hills. We know we can count on them to help us love Birmingham!! They have not failed us yet and we doubt they ever will. If they commit, they show up and they work with all their hearts to Jesus. What a beautiful sight to see! The Church at Brook Hills Students started our July month of one serve day after another.
Testimonials from The Church at Brook Hills Students:
“I loved going around helping do anything that needed to be done. It was a fun time serving with my friends.” – Matthew Stewart
“We cleaned out the basement at the Grace Klein Community house. Then we reorganized it. We were able to cut the grass, weed-eat, and trim bushes. We got to talk with a man who was living there. He told us what they use the house for and about some of the Grace Klein ministries. We learned about some of the different ways Grace Klein helps others. We had the nasty job of loading compost into trash bags and onto a trailer! It sure did smell! After finishing there, we drove over to the Grace Klein office, where we helped the volunteers there with more yard work. We got to feed the chickens! After unloading a food truck, we even got to take a little bit home with us. Learning about market day was interesting. We have been able to share that with other people in the area already. We had a good day serving with Grace Klein.” – Zackary and Jardell Cleveland
“We had the precious blessing of being able to serve at Mrs. Birdie’s house. We watered her garden, hung curtains, pressure washed her porch, helped with some organization inside, and even got the chance to play with her dogs. Before we left, sweet and selfless Mrs. Birdie gave us jams she had canned herself. It was a great morning, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.”
– Halle Austin
“Our youth group does a thing called “Mission Monday” where we come together and serve the local community. My friends and I were able to come and serve at Grace Klein Community. Serving there was tons of fun! I loved that I got to serve with my friends. While I was there, I cleaned plastic storage tubs, bagged donuts to give away and sorted clothes in their “Give and Take Room.” Other friends cut grass, laid pine straw, disassembled pallets, swept and mopped, and cleaned several of the refrigerators they use for rescued food. At the end of their time, we all came together and unloaded a food truck. I love that by helping them we were also helping our community! Overall, I love serving at Grace Klein!”
– Nora Grace Cotton
“It was fun serving at the Grace Klein office. I got to spend the day working and helping, but also doing it with all my friends. I helped cut grass and breakdown pallets. I carried recycled boxes and trash to the dumpster. I helped unload food and store it in the house. It was a good experience.”
– Joseph Cleveland
“When I went on Serve Day to Grace Klein, my eyes were opened to various needs around the Birmingham community. Some jobs I helped do were spreading pine straw, working in the sorting room, and washing out tupperware containers. Although these seemed like odd jobs with no purpose, it was very interesting to hear about how these things did so much for people in need who practically live in our back yard.” – Anna Robins
Another of our “regulars” are the Briarwood Cheerleaders. Maybe some people think “cheerleader” and think pompoms and ponytails… and yes… they have both… BUT so much more! These girls have generous hearts filled with kindness and cheer. Volunteers caught them singing with one of our community staff, Giorgio Fareira. They also didn’t mind getting their hands dirty to wash sticky storage bins, weed the garden, organize and sort food, and clean the office. We are thankful for girls that are committed, not only to their sport, but to loving others above themselves.
The garden work is hot, sweaty work, but these girls gave their all filling boxes to overflowing with the weeds. Maybe the box approach didn’t turn out to be the best strategy, since all the boxes burst and spilled weeds everywhere, but they got the job done, the weeds picked up and the garden clean. They never quit smiling. When those boxes broke simultaneously, one behind the other, they realized they were not alone in learning the best way to haul weeds out of the garden. What a great visual of our lives and how we can fill our schedules so full that everything bursts right out of the bottom of our box and scatters everywhere. We learn from our “overloaded boxes” how to manage the weight of our loads and when some of the duties (or weeds) need to be distributed to the box of a friend that can help share the overload and keep our boxes from exploding everywhere.
A group from The Church of the Highlands had been praying for weeks about who to serve for their annual #SERVEday17 and the leader was waiting on God for the right need. One of the team members “just so happened” to come serve with a friend at Grace Klein Community and discover the huge day-to-day need we have for volunteers. She shared about us and the group selected Grace Klein Community for their #SERVEday17. In case you didn’t know, The Church of the Highlands sends groups all over the city to serve on the same day, and we were so surprised to be selected as one of their locations.
Since they only discovered us at the last moment, maybe a week or so before the serve day, we were absolutely shocked at all they accomplished. The group that came were all adults who planned to serve for half the day and ended up staying for the entire day. They worked on drainage issues in the side alley of our office, building a berm with extra dirt and gravel, gave our chicken coop a royal scrub down and extra loving care, weeded our garden to a supreme condition, packed boxes of clothing for our upcoming No More Safety Pins event and in general just outdid us with their love. What a fun surprise for a month of serve.
Testimonials from Church of the Highlands servants:
“Wow… Sorpresa!!! God is so very great! This past month God led Randy Dyer, a very dedicated member and staff person from Church of the Highlands to GKC by way of Margarita Shunnarah. Who would have known that by their connections, feathers would be flying, saws would be screaming, and laughter with occasional Spanish chatter, would fill the summer air at the GKC site!
On July 15, 2017, Margarita and her brother-in-law, Randy, came in with a huge team of volunteers who went straight to work weeding the garden, cleaning the chicken coop, repairing and building a roof etc. While many of these volunteers where Hispanic and had common language as their similarity, still they all were brought together by their greater common familiarity in Christ. So with all the laughter, chatter, hammering and sweating, God’s love was pouring over everything and leaving GKC the more blessed in strength to continue our great mission in helping so many and more to come. Thank you Father! Thank you Church of the Highlands serve team.”
– Newer, Community Volunteer
As if all this was not enough, you will not believe it, but friends from Chelsea, AL also contacted us about a serve. Students from two churches from the Chelsea area joined together a team of youth to spearhead what they are calling “Do BigStuf.” They are hoping to set up monthly serve days on Sunday afternoons. July 23, 2017, Do BigStuf came to Grace Klein Community for their first monthly serve to share their afternoon with us. From art work to cleaning, every teenager and adult leader jumped in to serve with happy hearts. Two of our volunteers that came to host Do BigStuf share their perspectives of the day:
“Serve day was a blast! We had 20 youth and leaders come help out. They were amazing. The kids were enthusiastic and willing to do all that we asked. They painted signs for office parking, cleaned fridges, swept, mopped, and painted encouraging words on our food delivery boxes. They laughed and encouraged us as they worked. I was very proud of this team as they did not complain about the work they were doing. With everyone helping we finished in two hours what would take all day to normally get done. I was proud to have this group there, and if possible, would love for them to come back and serve soon.”
– Mary Elizabeth, Community Volunteer
“The kids were full of ambition, love, and ready to serve. They were very polite, respectful, and helpful to each other and the GKC family. One girl stated she couldn’t believe that two hours were already up… she felt like she had just started artistically painting the food boxes. The food boxes they painted were in hopes of brightening the receivers day – they truly painted and worked out of love. Best group of that age group we have been around! Definitely see bright leaders of tomorrow!”
– Larissa Baker, Community Volunteer
And wouldn’t you know it… another group sneaks in at the last minute to finish out July! On July 28, 2017, America’s First Federal Credit Union staff members served alongside Grace Klein Community volunteers, distributing non-perishable food items into boxes for families in need. Preparation for our monthly food delivery ministry takes a village and we truly appreciate every helping hand. Your efforts go far beyond the walls of our building, impacting the lives of many individuals and families in the Greater Birmingham. Your kindness, enthusiasm and joyful smiles encourage our hearts as we continue to serve those who need it most.
“Thank you, Grace Klein Community, for giving our employees such a great volunteer opportunity today at your food bank!” – America’s First Federal Credit Union