“They Just Help Everybody”: GBM Helps Birmingham and Surrounding Communities

When people imagine having a roof over their heads, an overpass doesn’t usually come to mind. But while Betty McDonald was homeless, the space under a bridge was the only shelter she knew.

“I was homeless because I was an addict. Well, am an addict. Once an addict, always an addict, they say,” Betty said in a tone that showed she hadn’t yet forgiven herself.

She met cocaine while in Nashville with her now ex-boyfriend. He was a truck driver and they’d been dating 9 years when things started to fall apart. “It was stress and depression from the breakup that led me to doing coke,” Betty said.

Back in Birmingham, things started to turn around for Betty. She started going to Church of the Reconciler and went to rehab. Although she relapsed a few times, Betty is happily clean now.

“I’m not homeless anymore and I just got a job at Subway! Maybe everything will turn around now,” Betty said.

The GBM has been instrumental in helping Betty get back on her feet. “They’ve helped me with food, clothes, hygiene stuff… I’m glad the GBM is here. I don’t know what I’d do if they weren’t.”

Betty mentioned that one of the things she likes about the GBM is that anyone in Jefferson County can benefit from the services GBM provides. “Some places you have to live in a certain area or a certain zip code, but anyone in Birmingham and Jefferson County can come here. They just help everybody,” Betty said.

If you’d like to donate to GBM’s food pantry to help people like Betty, you can drop off nonperishable food items at GBM, located at 2304 12th Ave. N. in Birmingham between 8:30am and 4:30pm. You can also make monetary donations online or by making checks payable to Greater Birmingham Ministries.