Nnday Byrd, or “Day” as many know her, came to Jessie’s Place of the Jimmie Hale Mission in 2009 as a homeless, single mother in need of help and a hand up. Now, nearly a decade later, she’s running a successful cleaning business and can usually be found volunteering at the shelter teaching life skills classes to clients and serving during special events. In addition, she often provides free transportation to family, friends, and coworkers who don’t have vehicles of their own. All of this came to a halt, however, when her pickup truck stopped running in mid-July.
Thanks to Driving Hope, an upstart non-profit focused on providing reliable vehicles to individuals in need, Day is now the proud owner of a 2002 Acura MDX and is ready to get back to serving.
“People always said with the other car I had that I was a taxi cab driver,” she said with a laugh. “I can wear it proud now, I’m a taxi cab driver back again to help other people.”
The recipient-selection process is a lengthy one. Mission facility directors provide recommendations on countless applications highlighting eligible candidates and those information packets are passed on to Brown and Scotty Colson, director of the Mission’s new Continuum of Care program. The duo then faces the difficult task of prayerfully determining the new owner.
“It’s not an easy process,” Colson said. “We have a stack of outstanding individuals to consider, all of whom deserve a reliable car. We look at their family situation, their occupation, their current involvement with the Mission, and then look at the type of vehicle that’s being made available. If, for example, [Driving Hope] was providing a minivan, we might focus on former clients with larger families. There were several great candidates for this first vehicle, but Day just stood out to us.”
The Acura will provide her with ample space to accommodate the equipment and cleaning supplies she uses daily to run her business as well as the passengers she shuttles around town.
Day said the first thing she was going to do in her new car was go to the grocery store before heading to pick her daughter up from school.
“She was so excited she wanted to skip school today,” Day said. “I want to thank Jimmie Hale Mission and Driving Hope for giving me my independence back.”
To find out more about the Mission’s new Continuum of Care program or its partnership with Driving Hope, please contact Colson at 205-323-5878. To learn more about how you can donate a vehicle to Driving Hope, contact the non-profit through its Facebook page by clicking HERE or by searching for Driving Hope AL.