One of our absolute favorite charities is The Firehouse Shelter located in downtown Birmingham. Shortly after we bought the building which has been our home now for more than 30 years, The Firehouse Shelter opened as a men’s homeless shelter with the primary goal to meet the food, shelter, and clothing needs of homeless men in this metropolitan area. The original mission has been greatly expanded.
A community garden has been planted in the Smithfield neighborhood where volunteers plant seed, tend to the garden, and harvest the crops. The food is brought to the shelter, prepared and cooked for the men who visit every day. There is not a specific limit on the length of a stay, therefore, the men they serve are more chronically homeless and the staff is able to establish a deeper involvement with each man. They provide a variety of services, including meals, clothing, addiction recovery help, free legal counsel, transportation to health services, job interview training, art therapy, and tutoring.
The main fundraiser for the shelter is an annual banquet which our representatives have attended for several years. This year the main speaker was Barrett Jones, who is now an NFL player but has a strong connection to Alabama due to the three national championship rings he won while playing football for the Crimson Tide. While David Wininger is a fairly large human being (too big some say), the attached photo will give you some idea as to the size of Barrett. This year we sat with his mother and brother at the annual dinner and learned that Barrett has become an accomplished speaker whose heart is in the right place. The Firehouse Shelter is rescuing hope and saving lives.