Volunteers who prepared the delivery lunches gather for a photo in the dining hall



The Mission kitchen staff spent several days cooking more than 40 turkeys, 15 hams, dressing and gravy, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie, and cake in preparation for the 750-plus meals that would be served at the Shepura Men’s Center and to hundreds of seniors and shut-ins throughout the Birmingham area this Christmas.

While many in our city were enjoying some much-needed rest or erupting from bed early to the excitement of Christmas morning laughter and wonder, a handful of devoted spirits were fast at work serving breakfast to the clients at the Center before 6:30 a.m.

The volunteers share the joy of Christmas while working in the dining hall

Just an hour and a half later a few dozen servants prepared and packed more than 350 holiday plates that would later be dispersed to individuals across the city. And by 9:45 the Chapel was filled with hundreds of additional volunteers eager to bring a little more cheer to someone’s Christmas Day.

Serving always brings people closer together

Tony Cooper, the Mission’s executive director, approached the crowed with tear-filled eyes and a verklempt voice. “Most of you that know me know that I didn’t get the memo that men aren’t supposed to cry,” he said as the room crackled with laughter. “My eyes just sweat.”

Cooper went on to discuss the importance of the holiday as a Christ-centered celebration and shared his gratitude to the volunteers on this wonderful day.

A volunteer cuts up with a fellow worker during the lunch-packing fun

The Mission family would like to send a heart-felt Thank You to the countless individuals who donated financially to ensure these meals could be served today and to the hundreds of volunteers who lovingly sacrificed part of their Christmas morning to celebrate the true meaning of the season by joyfully serving others.

And to everyone everywhere, Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!