Urban Ministry's WE Cafe celebrates first anniversary


The WE Community Cafe in the West End neighborhood of Birmingham recently had a celebratory lunch marking its first year of existence. People from the neighborhood were joined by a large crowd of friends and supporters for a lunch of linguini with marinara or alfredo sauce, fruit and cheese, salad, bread and birthday cake. Altogether, 275 people enjoyed the meal and the fellowship.

Last year, Urban Ministry shifted from a soup kitchen model to a community cafe. The dining space was modernized, and began to offer lunch every Wednesday on a "pay-as-you-can" basis. Since reopening, the WE Community Cafe has served an average of 120 persons each week and beginning in September, will be open each Tuesday in addition to Wednesdays. WE stands for West End, the area of Birmingham in which Urban Ministry is located. Young adults from the neighborhood staff the kitchen and serving line. Much of the food served comes from the WE Community Garden.

"Good food and good fellowship always bring people together, and there's no better place to gather than the table," said Hill Carmichael, executive director of Urban Ministry. "Some can offer less and some can offer more, but at WE Cafe everyone has a seat at the table."

During the Lenten Season this year, an anonymous donor has offered Urban Ministry a $25,000 matching gift, dollar-for-dollar, on donations received by Good Friday, April 14. This is an incredible opportunity for Urban Ministry to double the donations it receives through Lent.

In addition to operating the community cafe, Urban Ministry offers these programs:

  • Urban Kids Summer Learning to help local students make learning gains while school is not in session
  • WE Community Garden
  • Moving individuals from insecure housing or homelessness to permanent housing
  • Painting and repairing homes in Western Birmingham through the Joe Rush Center for Urban Missions.
  • Hiring young adults from the West End Community into the Workforce and Life Skills program.
  • Operating social enterprise programs that put approximately $140,000 back into its budget
To help Urban Ministry take full advantage the current matching offer, make a donation of any amount by April 14 and mail to Urban Ministry, 1229 Cotton Ave SW, Birmingham AL 35211. Urban Ministry is an Advance Special of the North Alabama Conference.

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