Wings of Grace Aims to Increase Senior Citizens Participation in Weekly Program
A weekly food and clothing giveaway hosted by Wings of Grace Relief Center aims to get more senior citizens in the area to participate in their free programming.
Every Thursday, Terri Hibbard, the director of the program, rallies her team to provide food, clothing, shoes, books and other household necessities to those in need. They partner with the West Alabama Food Bank to purchase the food that is given away.
Once a month, they host Seniors' Day, which allows those age 60 or older to receive an additional "Brown Box" filled with shelf-stable items, including canned vegetables and meats, cereal, juices and cheese. These boxes are provided by WAFB and are given in addition to what Wings of Grace provides to participants.
"I'm sure some of them get TANF/Food Stamps but a lot of them only get about $17 to $18 based on their income, so we want to give them a supplemental to help out with what they have," said Demonica Walker, CSFP senior program coordinator at WAFB.
Walker said the goal of this partnership is to register more seniors for the program to meet their yearly goal with the state. Currently, 1,800 seniors participate in this initiative and they have a goal of reaching 2,000 participants before the year ends.
Wings of Grace was started in 2011 to assist in relief efforts following the April 27th tornadoes that devastated Tuscaloosa that year.
Hibbard said there is "a great need for this type of work" to be done in the community and hopes more people would like to assist with the organization's efforts.
"We have enjoyed the blessings that we've received. Seeing things come in and go straight out to these people is wonderful," Hibbard said.
"Cap" Ray Allen, the traffic reporter at Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa, was informed of this project by his neighbor and decided to get involved. He took to social media to publicize the event on his personal accounts.
"There's a crying need in this community, especially amongst our seniors," Allen said.
Allison Willis, a social work student from the University of Alabama whose family was impacted by the April 2011 tornadoes, assisted participants with getting registered to vote. Willis said "seeing the community get better is me getting better."
Walker reiterated that these resources are completely free to the public. To qualify for the senior brown box, a participant must meet the age requirements, live in one of nine West Alabama counties (Tuscaloosa, Fayette, Bibb, Lamar, Sumter, Greene, Hale, Marion and Pickens), and possess an ID.
The weekly drives take place at the Next Level Church, located at 3101 Alabama Ave. NE in Holt from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Anyone looking to partner with the Wings of Grace Relief should contact Hibbard at 205-616-2792.
Stay connected with the Tuscaloosa Thread to learn about future community events happening in and around the Druid City.