Each year, Bell Media is led to give back to the community. This year, Bell Media partnered with Firehouse Ministries, a Birmingham-based nonprofit that provides homeless men of all ages critical, supportive services that break the rigorous cycle of homelessness.
For over two months, Bell collected coats, jackets, socks, and other cold-weather gear to donate to the shelter as part of their coat drive initiative.
Giving Back to Firehouse Ministries in Birmingham, AL
After asking Caroline Hottle, Bell’s Office Manager and Community Outreach committee member, why we chose Firehouse Ministries, she said, “In our early discussions about ways to help non-profits and promote community outreach, one of our committee members brought up Firehouse Ministries as they had recently been in the news when the City of Birmingham was trying to take away promised funding for their new facility. We felt that donating a coat was something that anyone on our staff could do and would fill a great need for the surprisingly large homeless population in Birmingham.”
Firehouse Ministries first opened their doors in 1983 as an outreach program of The Cooperative Downtown Ministries.
On their first night, the Shelter housed 12 men who slept on floor mats upstairs in the second-floor dorm room. Now, in 2019, more than 213 men who experience homelessness in the Birmingham community find a safe place to lay their heads at the Firehouse Shelter facility each night.
For over 32 years, Firehouse Ministries has served a very impactful and critical role for our community, as they have opened their arms and doors to those who are trying to get back on their feet.
Firehouse Shelter has seen immense success over the years with 90% of men who enter their shelter programs leave for permanent transitional housing, or for necessary medical, mental health, or substance abuse treatment.
Who Firehouse Ministries Serve
The Firehouse Shelter serves men of all ages who are experiencing homelessness. Though these men come with various needs, the goal of the Firehouse Shelter remains the same for each individual who walks through their door: to provide a nurturing environment that offers services that break the cycle of homelessness by empowering individuals to achieve their highest potential.
Each year they serve:
- 5,033 men, ranging from 18-80
- Over 130,000 hot meals
- 13,352 articles of clothing
- 215 beds each night
Why they Serve
After our in-person donation, we met with Anne Darden Wright, Firehouse Ministries Executive Director, who walked us through some of the underlying causes of homelessness and its far-reaching implications in Birmingham.
“The hardest part about working with the homeless is the stigma. We all have an idea of what those experiencing homelessness might need, or be or even what situations they might come from. Although when they walk through our doors, we have to be able to look at them as a human being and not a title,” Anne said.
After speaking with Anne, it was easy to see the passion, determination, and love that she and her staff pour into our community each and every day. They work tirelessly to end the stigma of homeless men by treating them the way every human being deserves to be treated — with love, compassion, and understanding.
Our Bell Media team was inspired by Firehouse Ministries core values, which are:
- Treating all guests with respect and dignity
- Providing accessible, safe, and clean facilities
- Nurturing and caring for all of our guests
- Empowering all guests to achieve their life goals
- A recognition that our ministries are part of a larger community
- Being a faith-based community that provides opportunities for spiritual growth
“We believe everyone has the right of self-determination. We wait for them to identify that’s something they desire because we found that when you force people into solutions because you think it’s the right thing for them, chances are it won’t work,” Anne said.
What they Offer
Firehouse Ministries is growing! Firehouse is planning to launch a brand new campus this year that will provide more space, utilities, and opportunities for the Birmingham community.
With the launch of their new campus, they’ll continue to offer these programs:
- The Emergency Shelter Operation
- Stop (Street Outreach)
- Professional Case Management
- Day Shelter
- Meals Program
- Clothes Closet
- Team (Pre-treatment Addiction Program)
- Project H.e.l.p. (Free Legal Counsel)
- Literacy & GED Programs
To learn about these services and how to get involved, click here.
By offering these programs to homeless men in our community, Firehouse Shelter provides the encouragement they need in order to get back on their feet.
We’re so thankful to have had the opportunity to give back to an organization that does so much for our community. Of course, a good deed is never lost, and we encourage you to get involved! Firehouse Ministries has a list of opportunities on their website to get involved. From donating articles of clothing to serving a hot meal, every bit of time spent volunteering helps someone in need.
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