Wade on Birmingham

MLK Day spotlight: Hands on Birmingham

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Hands on Birmingham at A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club

Hands on Birmingham volunteers (including me) set up
the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club for an event
on today’s MLK Day of Service. 

In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, I want to turn the spotlight on one of my favorite Birmingham nonprofit organizations …

I’ve worked with Hands on Birmingham for 7 years, though it has been some time since I last volunteered with the agency.

This nonprofit group pairs volunteers with service projects in the metro area. Saturday, I spent some time helping with setup at the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club in western Birmingham.

My debt to Hands on Birmingham is huge, having worked with their personnel on the Magic City Mission from 2006 to 2008. The United Way agency was instrumental in bringing together supplies and resources to aid the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

I realized that I could do more to help people in my own back yard. Fortunately, Hands on Birmingham makes it easy to jump in.  The website offers service projects throughout the year, encouraging individuals, church groups, corporate departments and civic leagues to take an hour or a day to lend their assistance.

Volunteers can work on landscaping, office duties, emergency training and pet adoption. They can spend time with zoo animals. They can socialize with senior citizens. Then can bring support to homeless persons. They can spend time with schoolchildren.

This set of opportunities gives volunteers flexibility and variety. And it shows just how much help is needed in our community.

Hands on Birmingham not only works with numerous local agencies but also steps in during crises to deliver supplies, food, water and staffing for relief efforts. It mirrors the efforts of similar centers around the world as part of the Hands on Network.

The wide outreach makes it easier for those in need to connect with those who can help. I’m proud to lend a hand to a worthy organization.

Video: Hands on Birmingham holds
its 13th annual MLK Day of Service today.

Wade on November 2007

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Because four months after the fact isn’t too ridiculously long a wait …

Then and now

Down Biloxi way: We took eight people to the Gulf Coast as part of the Magic City Mission, and we did all right.

I gave you a small taste of life down in Biloxi, but this is a good opportunity to fill in a few more blanks from our weeklong volunteer trip.


Wade on September 2007

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Then and now

Artistry all around: Two of Birmingham’s biggest festivals made September a downtown destination. Artwalk had another successful outing, pulling in more than 10,000 visitors over two days. Your 2007 winners are Omni Studio (First Place), Bobby Michelson (Second Place), Royal Miree (Third Place) and Scotty White (Honorable Mention).

The Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival closed out the month without the turmoil of the past year (funding issues! staff changes! filmmaker bickering!). The three-day festival featured a new executive director, a better opening night film (“The Ten,” which sent a few audience members scurrying out early), and the usual slate of parties, films and fun. In all, the judges and audience selected 34 winners … 10 more than the Oscars.

Photographer Larry O. Gay shares his snapshots from Artwalk …


Magic City Mission: Live from Biloxi

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

come walk in my shoes

Eight volunteers from Birmingham are working this week
to rebuild Biloxi and New Orleans.

We made it to the Gulf Coast, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

mcmlogo2.gifI’m spending the week in Biloxi with two more Birmingham residents. Our other team of five is staying in New Orleans. The eight of us are volunteering this week as part of the Magic City Mission, a partnership with nonprofit volunteer agency Hands on Birmingham.

Thanks to your generosity, we raised $1,390, which paid for our transportation costs as well as food and shelter at Camp Hope in New Orleans and Hands on Gulf Coast in Biloxi. But it also provided hundreds of dollars for both agencies plus St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, money to use at their discretion.

We’d also like to thank Curtis Palmer and TechBirmingham for donating three laptops to these agencies. And thanks also to Birmingham-Southern College for providing our parking.

So let me tell you about the trip so far …


Magic City Mission: One week, one thousand

Friday, October 26th, 2007

A quick update: We’re leaving in a week, and we’re doing OK on fund-raising and supplies, but …

mcmlogo2.gifFor those just joining us, a team of 11 Birmingham residents will be traveling to Biloxi and New Orleans for a weeklong volunteer trip in November as part of the Magic City Mission. So far, we’ve raised $950 (half of our goal) and received a fair amount of supplies and gift cards.

We’re especially grateful to Southern Progress Corporation, which generously donated $500 to sponsor the trip.

All of it, cash and goods, will go directly to the nonprofit agencies along the Gulf Coast:

The Wish List is bulging with new needs, including toys and tools for Biloxi. You might have the item we need just lying around your house.

How can you help? Help us donate cash or send supplies before Thursday, Nov. 1!

If you have questions, let me know.

Magic City Mission: Make it your mission to help the Gulf Coast.

Magic City Mission: Two weeks, two thousand

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

We’re just about ready to go.

A dozen volunteers will drive to the Gulf Coast for the next Magic City Mission to help rebuild. These are your friends and neighbors working with Hands on Birmingham to let folks in Biloxi and New Orleans know they haven’t been forgotten.

mcmlogo2.gifBut we still need your help.

We’re going to raise $2,000 in the next two weeks to go to our partner agencies: Hands on Gulf Coast (Biloxi), St. Bernard Project and Camp Hope (both in New Orleans). Your tax-deductible gifts will help pay for our food, shelter and other program costs during our volunteer week Nov. 4-11.

Every additional dollar will go straight to these programs.

Also, we’re loading our trucks, vans and SUVs with needed supplies for the agencies and the residents. You can help by donating tools, Home Depot gift cards, gas cards and more.

You can donate by check or credit card, or drop off supplies today. Here’s how:


Magic City Mission: Don’t be left out

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Last chance! We need more volunteers to make the trip from Birmingham to Biloxi and New Orleans. So far, 16 good citizens have stepped forward for the Magic City Mission, a weeklong volunteer trip in November.

mcmlogo2.gifWe’re going to have all kinds of fun helping residents rebuild their cities. The weather will be just right, and you’ll be able to say you made a difference.

It’s as easy as can be. Check your schedule, pick your city, and contact me to sign up. No special skills needed — just a willingness to jump in and work hard.

Signup deadline is Friday!

If you have questions, let me know.

Magic City Mission: Make it your mission to help the Gulf Coast.

Magic City Mission: Find out more

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Just a reminder: Our free information session takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at John’s City Diner, 112 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N. [map]. Free refreshments provided. Our thanks to John’s for the location.

mcmlogo2.gifSpend an hour with us, and you’ll see why you should come to the Gulf Coast with us for the Magic City Mission, a weeklong volunteer trip to Biloxi and New Orleans. Learn more about Hands on Birmingham and the journey we’ll take in November.

Signup deadline is Sept. 28.

If you have questions, let me know.

Magic City Mission: Make it your mission to help the Gulf Coast.

Magic City Mission: Part 2

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Hands on Gulf Coast rebuilds a house in East Biloxi.

We’re going back to the Gulf Coast. If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to help Katrina-ravaged Biloxi and New Orleans, you’ve found it.

I went with a team from Birmingham for a week in April to help rebuild New Orleans. So rewarding was the journey that we must return.

mcmlogo2.gifFifty Birmingham residents are needed to join the Magic City Mission, a weeklong volunteer trip with Hands on Birmingham. We’ll divide into one team for each city, spending Nov. 4-11 working on projects, eating good food, meeting great people and having too much fun.

If you want more info, we have two easy ways to get it:

1. Visit MagicCityMission.org for all the details.

2. Come to our hourlong informational session: 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 18, John’s City Diner, 112 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. [map]. Free refreshments provided. Our thanks to John’s for the location.

We’ve already signed up several volunteers, and spots are going fast. Signup deadline is Sept. 28.

If you have questions, let me know.

Magic City Mission: Make it your mission to help the Gulf Coast.