Donut Don: August’s Volunteer of the Month

 

Don and Lois make a donut delivery at the Shepura Men’s Center

 

Don, a retiree of more than 20 years, was looking for a way to keep busy and give back to the community when his son mentioned the possibility of teaming up with a local pastry shop to help benefit those in need. The Heavenly Donut Company was discarding its day-old deserts at the end of each shift, but the owners were more than willing to see the savory sweets put to better use than the lining of a dumpster. Don (86) quickly formulated a delivery route that would benefit the men, women, and children at the Jimmie Hale Mission and has been reliably dropping off the delectable delights three times a week for the last four years.

He said that his Saturn Vue smells like a donut shop most of the week and that sweet aroma seems to usher in fond memories of his childhood. His older brother, who worked in a grocery store, would occasionally surprise the family with broken cookies that couldn’t be sold to the public. Don and his nine siblings enjoyed those rare gifts and these experiences taught him the value of eliminating food waste while allowing those less fortunate to benefit.

“I thought this was a win, win, win situation,” he said when considering the partnership with Heavenly Donuts. “It’s a win for them, because they don’t have to throw them out. It’s a win for the [clients] because everybody likes donuts. And it’s a win for me because it gives me the opportunity to volunteer.”

 

Don grabs fresh storage bins to prepare of his next delivery on Friday

 

From the beginning, Don, and his wife Lois, have done everything from collecting and loading the leftovers, to dropping them off at both Jessie’s Place and the Shepura Men’s Center, to washing out the massive tubs in their tiny condominium sink. Thankfully, the men at the Mission kitchen realized the problem the final phase of the process was causing and implemented a solution.

“Water would get all over our counter and the floors,” Lois recalled with a mild chuckle. “I told Don, ‘I’m not sure I like this whole volunteer thing.’ The men here offered to start washing the tubs in the larger kitchen sinks for us and that’s been a big blessing. They were willing to do whatever they could to help us out.”

The loving duo epitomizes happiness and exudes a youthful enthusiasm that belies their age. In their company one easily believes that there is little they can’t do when they set their minds to something. When asked what they liked most about serving others they said there is great joy in “paying good things forward” and seeing the gratitude from the clients.

 

A client at the Men’s Center transfers donuts to a tray to serve at lunch

 

“The men here are so appreciative,” Lois said, “One afternoon we were sitting in the car waiting for the men to wash the tubs out for us and a gentleman came and knocked on the door. Don rolled down the window and the man stuck his hand in and said, ‘I wanted to come out and thank you folks for what you do and God bless you.’ Then he shook my hand too. They’ve always been so thankful.”

A great way for someone with a similar passion for people and pastries to get involved at the Mission is to partner with Don and Lois in their existing route. The couple will be out of town for a few months at the beginning of the year and could use your help to ensure the deliveries continue.

To find out more about helping with this project or to get information on other ways you can help serve those in need, please contact Andrea at 205-323-5878 or via email at andrea@jimmiehalemission.com

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Downtown Jimmie Hale Mission, Inc. is a Christian-based, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, which includes a homeless shelter for men, a shelter for women and children, after-school Bible clubs, recovery programs, and three learning centers. This charity is often misspelled Jimmy Hale Mission.

Contact us at
Jimmie Hale Mission, P.O. Box 10472, Birmingham, Alabama 35202, (205) 323-5878
Jimmie Hale Mission, Inc.