For years Greater Birmingham Ministries (GBM) has provided a food pantry service for local families and individuals in need, but just last week, GBM had to turn people away.
"I agonized over it. It just breaks my heart to have to put the 'No Food' sign up," GBM Coordinator of Direct Services Sarah Price told ABC News. "So I was determined that this week we would be able to give people food who came to our doors."Price posted a plea to the GBM website and Facebook Page asking for donations.
"For the second time this year, GBM's food pantry is so bare that we are short on groceries for our regular Friday distribution to 50 families," the post read. "Many children are hungry because there is no summer school breakfast or lunch. Their parents' food budgets are stretched to the breaking point. Please bring staples and kid-friendly foods to GBM any weekday from 8:30 - 4:30. Or call Iris at 326-6821 if you need us to pick up food."
According to the organization's website, GBM was founded in 1969 in response to urgent human and justice needs in the greater Birmingham area. GBM is described as a multi-faith, multi-racial organization that provides emergency services for people in need while engaging well-to-do families with poorer families in an effort to build a strong, supportive, and engaged community.
Fortunately, the city of Birmingham responded to the GBM Facebook post with handfuls of non-perishables.
"People have been bringing us food in today!" Price told ABC News on Saturday. "Praise God for all the people who have opened their hearts up to us."
Town locals, including resident Jean Bouler, saw the Facebook post and dropped off a food donation the very same day.
"We are so fortunate that we don't worry about what our grocery bill is, and I thought if we could just give to those who can't afford to eat, then it would be a good thing to do," Bouler said.
"It's been a blessing," Price continued. "Yesterday we had only the bags of rice on our shelves, and today we do have more items. I know we will be able to give [food to] the people who come tomorrow."
Nonetheless, Price says GBM may face the same shortage next week.
"I really don't like putting that 'No Food' sign on the door and I will not put it on the door. We are going to feed people," Price said.
GBM prides itself in helping the Birmingham community in three basic areas – serving people, by providing financial help, food, and clothing to support families in need; building a positive community, by working with faith communities within Birmingham and beyond; and pursuing justice, by working alongside low-income neighborhoods and people as they organize to improve their lives and the community around them.
Those who are interested in making a donation to Greater Birmingham Ministries food pantry can deliver non-perishable food items to the following:
2304 12th Ave. NBirmingham, AL 35234
Monetary donations can be made online at GBM.org.
For more information about Greater Birmingham Ministries, visit their Facebook page or their website, GMB.org.
[Photo from Shutterstock]