In the late 1930s and early 40s Jimmie Hale was known in Birmingham as the town drunk, but he eventually gave his life to Christ and began rewriting his story.
Armed with a desire to share God’s life-changing love with others, and to help those walking where he had, Jimmie set out to create a place where homeless men could find encouragement and hope.
Jimmie soon married Jessie Davis, a school teacher from Moundville, Alabama, and the couple founded the Mission on March 25, 1944. Through dedication and hard work, and the generous donations of those who had a little to share, Jimmie and Jesse began to feed and minister to the men of the streets whose lives had taken a turn for the worse.
Sadly, Jimmie passed away just eight months later due to health complications, leaving behind a 27-year-old pregnant widow. Jessie refused to forfeit her commitment to the dream she and her husband shared, however, and her resolve would prove to be the foundation on which the Mission would stand for generations to come.
Jessie was an incredible woman of faith and dedication and ultimately kept the facility alive for a decade on her own before God called Leo Shepura to the work. In 1954, the duo served the first meal on Thanksgiving Day and began housing overnight guests at the Mission. They would go on to lead one of the city’s most impactful non-profit organizations for 36 years.
Tony Cooper was named executive director in 1990 and he helped expand the Mission’s influence and outreach through the addition of numerous facilities and programs in his 29 years at the helm.
Royal Pines, a residential recovery and life restoration center for men opened in 1995 on 75 tranquil acres in Hayden, Alabama. Just three years later, women and children facing homelessness and other hardships began finding hope and empowerment at Jessie’s Place in downtown Birmingham.
The ribbon cutting for the first Mission Possible Bargain Center, a thrift store aimed at providing financial support for the ever-growing ministry, took place in 2000. Nineteen years and five locations later, the Mission began leasing the thrift store locations to King’s Home, another local non-profit.
In 2002, the Mission’s downtown men’s center began a multi-year site expansion and renovation of the old Thomas School building, and in 2007 the men’s center relocated from the corner on 24th Street North to the current campus. This move allowed the Mission to house more clients and includes a chapel, learning center, instruction space, and administration building.
Discovery Clubs, after-class Bible programs for children in 30 Birmingham-area public elementary schools, came into the fold in 2012. This program transitioned to another organization in 2019 that was well-equipped to continue this important work.
In 2022, after volunteering and serving on the board for over 25 years, Perryn Carroll became the next Executive Director called to lead the Mission in serving as the hands and feet of Christ to those in need.
Today, the Jimmie Hale Mission feeds, clothes, houses, counsels, provides back-to-life vocational and social services, and ministers to around 150 men, women, and children every day of the year. Additionally, the Mission delivers over 300 meals to the city’s shut-ins on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and serves as the City of Birmingham’s warming station, providing life-saving shelter and food to our most vulnerable neighbors during freezing weather.