Jesse Kennard wears his hair shorn and sits at attention in GBM’s waiting room. He’s a veteran of the United States Army, one who, like many others, has fallen through the cracks. After a series of hardships, including an absentee father and both his birth mom and adopted mom falling into drugs and prostitution, Jesse joined the Army as much for an escape as to set himself on a better life path.
“I joined the Army, but it wasn’t right for me. They told me to shoot someone and I didn’t think it was right. Some people can take killing someone, but I can’t. How can you look at someone—look them in the eye—and kill them? I can’t understand it,” Jesse said.
While in the Army, Jesse was shot and was granted discharge. Jesse is currently living at the Salvation Army, but comes to GBM for the occasional help with food and clothes.
“I came here because I didn’t have clothes for jobs. The Army is supposed to take care of you, but I don’t want their help… not after what happened,” Jesse said, shaking his head as he stared at the floor. “I like the GBM because it’s the most inspiring place around here. People care and they wish you luck. Most people never do that.”
If you’d like to make a donation to GBM’s clothes closet or food pantry for people like Jesse, click here to make a monetary donation online, or you can drop food and clothes off at the GBM’s location, 2304 12th Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35234, Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm. All donations are tax deductible.