2014 Ministry Highlights

Every day Urban Ministry works alongside our neighbors in one of Alabama and America’s most economically challenged neighborhoods. Even though the West End Community is just 2 miles from the state’s largest employer, the area has experienced significant decline as the forces of economic and social change have negatively impacted the community over the last 50 years.

  • Over half (59%) of our children live below the poverty line (and most by as much as 30-50% below), placing West End behind 95% of other communities in the United States.
  • Children in URBAN Kids After School Program live on an average household income of $15 – $17,000 per year.
  • Over 50% of our seniors served by food and utility assistance live at or below federal poverty standards.
  • High rates of chronic disease and poor health outcomes are made worse in part because healthy food is not easy to access. West End is known as a “food desert”.

Central to our mission is the idea that we must meet today’s needs with compassion; but just as importantly, we must become a beacon of hope for wholeness tomorrow. Our young people and our health are critical to the future. Our ministry focus areas are designated as “WE” elements. “WE” is about our geography AND our sense of community. WE are West End & WE are all of us.

Compassion for Today

WE Eat

  • Celebrated the faithful service of Mrs. Belle. For 38 years the soup kitchen at Urban Ministry helped create community for tens of thousands.
  • Established Snack Bag program to distribute healthier, portable food options for our most vulnerable guests.
  • Distributed nearly 4500 pounds of free, fresh produce to low income seniors during the growing season.
  • Maintained Emergency Food Pantry, supplying 800 neighbors with assistance.

WE Cultivate

  • Nearly 300 people grew in health knowledge and a sense of community through our Collard Green Cookoff and Wellness Expo.

WE Sustain

  • Our work with the Beeson Senior Services program supported 290 senior adults living on an average of just over $900/month with assistance and social services.
  • We helped 78 persons avoid or escape homelessness through our outreach programs through shelter placement, inpatient mental health treatment, relocation to affordable housing and resolution of eviction crisis.
  • Our team provided over 1,000 trips to the doctor, pharmacy or other critical destination.
Wholeness for Tomorrow

WE Eat

  • WE Community Gardens produced over 10,000 pounds of organic produce which helped support the Gardens through produce sales and helped sustain our seniors through weekly produce boxes.

WE Cultivate

  • URBAN Kids Summer Learning program reversed traditional summer learning loss for participants. In fact our kids averaged gains of 8-10 months in reading and math!
  • URBAN Interns in the Gardens and with Urban Kids learned job and life skills.

WE Sustain

  • We engaged over 1,700 volunteers who supplied over 17,000 critical hours of service.
  • We helped low income, senior adults continue their homeowner’s insurance coverage by painting 22 houses through the Rush Center for URBAN Missions.

NEW for 2015

WE Eat
WE Eat, an URBAN Café featuring healthy, natural and affordable food for everyone.

WE Cultivate
URBAN Interns – Expands to 3 program areas and adopts formal cohort learning approach. 9 young people from our area will gain specific program area skills and also gain life skills and personal development.

Compassion for Today – WE Sustain.
Referred to URBAN Ministry by her best friend, our team was able to assist an 81 year old widow with no living family support. Her overall health is good, but she requires a hearing aid due to significant hearing loss. She has only been able to afford a hearing aid for 1 ear, every 4 years. Our neighbor lives on a small pension and Social Security with nothing left over at the end of the month. Any setback is a major setback. Car trouble, plumbing problems and home repairs put our friend in jeopardy.

Our friend has received assistance with energy bills, has been connected to a Good Samaritan plumber and received car repair assistance. She also was connected to free hearing aids through a private grant. She is now able to manage her household as this crisis subsides.

Wholeness for Tomorrow – WE Cultivate.
A young man dug in. Literally. He dug into the soil, tilled the garden and grew a new future. Learning to tend crops and be responsible to a team planted new skills and cultivated new opportunities for a young man who struggled to see a future. The future is bright now thanks to a full time job with benefits and leadership opportunities.