Because of the incredible generosity of hundreds throughout Shelby and Jefferson county and even throughout the southeast, AOK was able to give over 500 people more than 20,000 items of clothing as well as thousands of other toys, household & miscellaneous items. By altering the number of people admitted at a time our ability to serve those in need was greatly improved. Allowing us to focus on helping each person find exactly what they needed. We limited the amount of time each group was able to shop to 30 minutes, but anyone still in need of items was encouraged to put their first items in their car and return to the line for a second opportunity to shop.
The remaining items were given to urban missions in Birmingham where hundreds of others will be blessed by the generosity of our community. Jason Williams, Briarwood Presbyterian Church's urban pastor to Fairfield, took all the clothing remaining in the men's department to a re-entry ministry called Shepherd's Fold in Birmingham. The clothing will be used to help equip men re-entering society from the prison system with needed items for job interviews and daily life.
We had over 135 volunteers during the final week of preparation and the giveaway. The desire of our community to give freely of their time, money and belongings is absolutely breathtaking! We were thrilled to welcome many new volunteers including groups from the University of Montevallo Baptist Student Ministry, youth groups from Chelsea and Calera as well as many members who have been with AOK for years. The local businesses helped tremendously by providing needed supplies. These sponsors also helped get the word out regarding the giveaway.
Calera AOK has a goal of collecting over 1000 stuffed animals between now and the Calera Christmas Parade in December. These stuffed animals will be used to give as gifts to the children along the parade route. AOK used the stuffed animals in the 2011 parade to help remind folks of the upcoming Spring Give Away. A card with the giveaway details is attached to each stuffed animal in hopes that those with a need will continue to be reached. If you have stuffed animals you would like to contribute please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-1975.
Even after the big event AOK continues to receive calls from those who either were unable to attend the giveaway or were not able to find exactly what they needed. What began as a once a year winter coat give away has now turned into a year round opportunity to help our neighbors in need. God has always provided all that was needed, He will continue to provide - we are expectant of what He will do next & how He will use Calera Acts of Kindness in the future.