How Grace Klein Community and its volunteers continue to pay it forward.
When friends, family, neighbors and even strangers come together to help other members in their community, everyone’s life is touched. That’s something the founders of Grace Klein Community found out for themselves, and it’s also what drives this nonprofit today.
Grace Klein Community (GKC) was founded in 2010 by two Birmingham business owners who struggled financially after a failed company. People came together to support them during that time, and the pair eventually created a successful construction business, says Natalie Spronk, ministry advocate at Grace Klein Community.
“They wanted to pay it forward and help others in need with the mentality that if everyone shares a little, everyone will have enough,” Natalie says. “When we live in a way that demonstrates ‘my plenty meets your need, so in turn your plenty meets mine,’ then we have the power of Christ’s love to change the world.”
Located in Hoover, GKC is an educational and charitable 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides relief to the poor, distressed and underprivileged.
“We are committed to helping individuals and families in need and believe that building long-term relationships is a key factor in alleviating poverty and food insecurity,” Natalie says.
The nonprofit serves people in 17 counties across the state, aiding approximately 10,000 individuals a month, prior to COVID-19. Since March 14, they’ve had a 259-percent increase in the number of people served through food support, however.
“Grace Klein Community strives to live out community as a verb, providing people a forum to share what they have so everyone has what they need,” Natalie says.
GKC also has partnerships with ministries throughout the world, including outreach programs in Africa and India. Their goal is to send a team from Birmingham to one of their global partners each year.
“We have come to love each of these places over the years as we have invested time, money, friendship and material items,” Natalie says.
No matter someone’s current situation, there are several ways he or she can give back through GKC. Under normal circumstances, volunteers can serve through monthly food delivery, daily trade market, home cooked meals, give and take room (clothing closet), Acts 4:32 share group and serve teams.
COVID-19 has forced GKC to modify their approach to serving, offering programs like food distribution drive-thru sites, food distribution hubs, meals for families, delivery drivers, maintenance of their women’s home and sewing facial masks. The different ways to share are as unique as the volunteers who participate.
The organization relies on its hundreds of volunteers each week to help with its critical services, Natalie says, identifying recipients’ needs and also developing solutions to assist them.
“We have always been a grassroots organization: for the people and by the people,” Natalie says.
She says the majority of their volunteers have also been recipients, in some way, which allows them to embrace a true lifestyle of community.
“Community is powerful, and we value the creativity of every volunteer who consistently brings their best to make the world a better place,” Natalie says. “Every person who serves with Grace Klein Community is full of kindness, from every walk of life and genuinely loves others.”
For Natalie, one of the things she enjoys the most about working with GKC is that every day is unique.
“Though you never quite know who might show up to volunteer, or who we might be called to love, or who might turn around and bless us in return, every day is good,” she says.
During her time with GKC, Natalie says her faith has been expanded, and she’s also been given a heart of compassion for all people. She says she had no idea the impact serving with Grace Klein Community would have on her life when she came to America in 2014.
While each person’s needs may vary, they still share the most basic of needs with those around them.
“Every person wants to know they are loved and that they matter,” Natalie says. “Community means trusting that you belong to others as much as they belong to you so that we care for one another as much as we care for ourselves.”
Grace Klein Community is located at 2652 Old Rock Ridge Road. For more information or to sign up to serve, visit Gracekleincommunity.com.