5 unique ways you can help homeless people in Birmingham

Be a Blessing Birmingham
Volunteers serving a meal at Linn Park during Be a Blessing Day. Photo via Be a Blessing Birmingham’s Facebook page

If you’re looking for a volunteer activity, why not consider these unique ways to help the homeless in Birmingham? Some take a few minutes to drop off donations and others are more involved. There’s also a large event providing free services for 500+ people at Boutwell Saturday, Feb. 29, from 7AM-4PM that could use some volunteers. Keep reading for all the details.

1. Donate professional clothes to My Sister’s Closet at The YWCA.

Imagine needing clothes for work or an interview but not having the means to buy them. Maybe you need to rebuild your life after domestic violence, a house fire or homelessness.

Whatever the situation, My Sister’s Closet is like a boutique thrift shop where women can shop for donated suits, dresses, casual wear and accessories. Bargain-hunters are welcome to come shop for affordable clothes, and women who are referred through an agency can shop at no cost.

Donate to My Sister’s Closet

You’re welcome to donate gently used or new in-season clothing and accessories.

  • Donations: YMCA Central Alabama, 309 23rd Street N, Birmingham, AL 35203
  • Donation drop-off: M-F 8AM-5PM

Shop at My Sister’s Closet

2. Volunteer at the new Firehouse Shelter on 2nd Avenue North (or any other shelter in town).

After 36 years serving homeless people in Birmingham from an old firehouse, Firehouse Ministries opened a new $5.8m shelter that has the capacity to serve 112 people.

According to Executive Director Anne Wright Rygiel in the Birmingham Times, here are some of the new people the new shelter will be able to serve and the services they will be able to offer:

  • 18-24 year olds
  • women
  • family housing
  • veterans
  • people needing respite care after a stay in the hospital
  • emergency services like feeding programs, GED and a computer lab
  • medical screening
  • a chapel

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at Firehouse Shelter. Just check their website and follow the instructions to sign up.

Location: 626 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
Minimum age: 8, chaperone required for ages 8-17
Find out more

You can find a list of area shelters here.

3. Help make the Way Station youth shelter dream a reality.

the Way Station, AIDS Alabama
An artist’s sketch of the entrance to the Way Station, courtesy of AIDS Alabama.

AIDS Alabama is currently working to raise almost $1m for the Way Station, Birmingham’s only emergency overnight shelter for homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth.

More than just a safe place for vulnerable youth to sleep at night, the Way Station will also provide much-needed supportive services, meals, warm beds and showers, and a whole lot of love and understanding.

Want to help make sure young people without a home have a safe place to stay? Donate here and be sure to designate the Way Station.

4. Be part of monthly Blessing Days with Be a Blessing Birmingham.

Be a Blessing Birmingham
Volunteers in Linn Park. Photo via Be a Blessing Birmingham’s Facebook page

Founded by Erica “Star” Robbins, Be a Blessing Birmingham is a 100% community-funded and led nonprofit. The whole idea is about neighbors helping neighbors.

While they have a lot of ways to get involved, one of the easiest is to help distribute “hygiene kits, clothing, shoes, snack bags, and a hot breakfast” to homeless neighbors in Linn Park.

  • Location: Linn Park, 710 20th Street N, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
  • Time: Saturday, March 21, 8:45-10AM
  • Contact: Facebook | Instagram | Website

You can also donate to their campaign to bring mobile showers to Birmingham. While they didn’t reach their initial $60,000 goal to bring these to the city by Summer of 2019, you can help them achieve it this year. Every little bit helps.

5. Be a “smiling face” at Project Homeless Connect 2020.

Want to find out more ways to make an impact with the homeless in and around Birmingham? You can miss the annual Project Homeless Connect 2020 this Saturday, February 29, from 7AM-4PM at Boutwell.

Faith Chapel, One Roof and more than 50 homeless advocacy organizations across the Magic City are coming together. Why? To provide loads of no-cost services to more than 500 homeless people in our city.

United Way Hands On is still recruiting adult volunteers who are willing to be “Smiling Faces” at the event. This is a 4.5-hour volunteer opportunity where you can help people feel welcome and get the services they need.

Bonus: you’ll learn more about ways to support homeless people in Birmingham. Register now.

Location: Boutwell Auditorium, 1930 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35203
When: Saturday, February 29, 7AM-4PM
Get more information

Now tell us, Birmingham, what are your favorite ways to volunteer? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know. We want to hear from you!