The Turning Banking into Thanking project, now in its seventh year, has become a cherished tradition for Bryant Bank. This one-of-a-kind initiative embodies the spirit of giving and emphasizes the bank’s core value: We Put Care into Action.
“We are excited to kick off another year of ‘Turning Banking into Thanking,’” says Claude Edwards, President at Bryant Bank. “This initiative is a meaningful way for us to show our appreciation to the non-profit organizations that tirelessly work to make our communities stronger. Bryant Bank was built on the promise of being a cornerstone of the communities we serve and so Turning Banking into Thanking is the natural extension of who we are as bankers and neighbors.”
Each Fall, Bryant Bank employees from various branches and departments nominate non-profit organizations that have made a significant difference in their communities. These nominations often come from Bryant Bankers who have a personal investment in the organization and who they have volunteered with in the past.
Take a look at this year’s non-profit recipients below!
Magical Christmas Toy Drive: The Magical Christmas Toy Drive is a partnership with the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama and Pensacola Salvation Army. This toy drive helps children in two states (Alabama and Florida) and the toys collected will be distributed first to local Baldwin County charitable agencies. Any extra toys not used by the Baldwin County agencies will be distributed by the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots as part of the – Magical Christmas Toy Drive.
Women’s Health Center is an organization that welcomes women that may be or have recently found out they are pregnant. They provide resources to help these women during a difficult time in their lives. In their office they have an ultrasound machine and medical professionals. Not only do they offer some medical help, but they also offer a full store available to the women stocked with any baby supplies they may need. Along with the medical needs and store they also offer counseling through a volunteer counselor. The Women’s Health Center welcomes any donations of baby clothes and other supplies for these women. They are a 501c3 nonprofit organization and appreciate any donations towards the organization. Photo: Tameka Jackson presents donation to Women’s Health Center.
McKemie Place, a 501c3 non-profit, is the only emergency shelter for unaccompanied women in Southwest Alabama. The first guests of this nonprofit were given shelter in March of 2007. McKemie place started as a service of the United Methodist Inner City Mission, thanks to the efforts of the Homeless Coalition task force, and became its own nonprofit in 2010. After years of searching, planning, and preparation, McKemie Place relocated to a permanent location of their own in 2020 where they can care for homeless women around the clock. Having their own facility has allowed them to improve the quality of the current services and make plans to expand the services provided in the community. On average, McKemie Place provides over 4 million dollars worth of services to women in need and serves 450 women each year. Photo: Sam Jeffcoat presents donation to McKemie Place.
Under His Wings is a Christ-centered residential home for troubled girls under 19. They offer counseling for the child and family, educational support, and the opportunity to feel safe in a loving home-like environment. This program makes sure each girl gets to experience an on-site school with accredited curriculum, house parents who provide structure and a loving home life, Christian counseling for both girls and their families, instruction in life skill and creative opportunities to restore confidence, and opportunities to help others in need through service projects and volunteering. Photo: Sam Jeffcoat serving at one of the homes for Under His Wings.
DASH Foundation is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide financial assistance to families in Baldwin County, Alabama, who are actively fighting cancer or battling life-altering chronic illnesses. The board of directors has worked together for countless years on Relay for Life events within Baldwin County. They formed a bond and a deep friendship. At the end of the 2020 Relay for Life season, after much conversation and many prayers, they decided to step out in faith and create this organization with the hopes of being able to help ease the financial burdens of local families who are battling medical emergencies. Photo: Charlesne McCurdy presents donation to DASH Foundation.
Dance Without Limits strives to provide professional dance instruction to all special needs individuals – regardless of their disability. All of the dancers participate to their maximum potential. Wheelchairs are forgotten, tight muscles are stretched, social skills and confidence are enhanced, and no speech is needed in dance. It is truly an art form that everyone can participate in. Photo: Valerie Ellis and Rena’ Davis present donation to Dance Without Limits.
Love All Pantry at Central (Loaves and Fish Community Ministry) is an inclusive community of volunteers and donors serving nutritious groceries to families experiencing food insecurity and hunger. Founded in 2005, The Pantry now serves more than 1400 families a month with 40-50 pounds of food, and share food with over 650 families a week. Typically, a family would receive between 40-50 pounds of meats, grains, dairy, and fruits and fruits and vegetables. The Pantry partners with over twenty organizations who help with delivery, food rescue, and other services. Working out of Central Presbyterian Church, nearly 100% of donations received go to purchasing quality meats, grains, vegetables, fruits, and other nutritious groceries from Feeding the Gulf Coast. Photo: Andrew Odom and Joyce Lambert present donation to Love All Pantry
N.E.S.T of Mobile matches teams of community volunteers with at-risk youth and families for a mentoring partnership. A NEST team consists of two or more Court approved volunteers. NEST works with the Mobile County Juvenile court, the Department of Human Resources and partnering agencies to match teams with youth referrals. The team and youth and family work together during the Court probationary period or a designated time of 6 months or more. During this mentoring partnership, teams and families work together to achieve goals and improve outcomes. Judge Edmond Naman and Dr. Norman McCrummen met in 2012 when Dr. McCrummen spoke at a forum and addressed the challenges of facing children and families living in high-crime neighborhoods in Mobile. Judge Naman had long been a positive voice for at-risk youth in his courtroom and a leading advocate in finding new ways to meet the needs of the great number of single-parent families in the area. Photo: Michael Holland and Jennifer Fisher present donation to N.E.S.T of Mobile
Your Next Real Step is a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk kids and adults through positive mentoring and engagement to help them make steps toward a successful future. Photo: The Northport branch present donation to Your Next Real Step.
Patti’s Pantry is a 501c3 organization formed to honor Patti Slaton and the life she lived. She was a teacher at Verner and Rock Quarry Elementary Schools and was often the first loving face that many children saw each morning. She was a child’s advocate for many that were lacking in basic hygiene products and had food insecurity in their homes. The first food pantry was opened at Collins-Riverside Intermediate School and they have plans to open more with our public-school systems. Photo: Shauna Russell and Candy Lowery present donation to Patti’s Pantry.
Tuscaloosa Angels mission is to walk alongside children, youth, and families in the foster care community by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship. The main goal of the Tuscaloosa Angels is to change statistics. Statistics say that youth in foster care experience higher rates of negative outcomes such as homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration compared to their peers who are not in foster care. But they believe that these outcomes can change. Their programs are built to create positive change. Photo: Mark Sullivan present donation to Tuscaloosa Angels.
Crossroads Ministry: Crossroad Ministry provides a faith-focused community for college students in Tuscaloosa. Whether these students are temporary residents from out of town, or living here permanently, Crossroad provides them with the guidance they need to make good decisions during a very transitional time in their lives. Photo: Beverly Cooper and Kristi Kamplain present donation to Crossroad Ministries.
The East Tuscaloosa Community Soup Bowl located in the heart of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has served meals to the homeless and needy for more than 30 years. The 501c3 non-profit organization offers a warm, inviting atmosphere and a hot lunch every weekday and most weekends. Because of the generosity of local restaurants, the Soup Bowl spends about $3 for each plate served. In 2020, the Soup Bowl served almost 57,000 hot meals to the hungry in Tuscaloosa. This program is partially funded by donations from the five founding churches: First African Baptist, First Baptist, Christ Episcopal, First Presbyterian, and First United Methodist Church. Other churches and civic organizations provide additional volunteers and funding. Individual donations account for about 65% of the Soup Bowl’s budget. Photo: Missy Tucker, Meghan Meeks, Renne Channell, Patty Ratliff, Craig Stewart and Audrey O’Neal serve lunch at the East Tuscaloosa Community Soup Bowl.
Freedom Farm exists to be a safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children. Their goal is to provide them a home with parents to guide them into mature, responsible adults. Freedom Farm resides on 60 acres of land in a rural setting in Coker, AL and houses children without a home in hopes to give them “freedom to soar” and success in life. They hope to provide them with the three things which all children need for success – an anchor, a compass, and a cross – an anchor for security, a compass for direction, and a cross for hope. With these three things Freedom Farm believes these children can face life’s challenges with courage and confidence…and then pass is on to the next generation. Photo: Jill Slaton presents donation to Freedom Farm.
The Brown House: The mission of The Brown House is one of proximity, community, and opportunity. By living with those on the outskirts of society, the Brown House can better see and meet the needs that arise. Through a Christ-centric approach and by walking together as equals, they strive to meet emotional, spiritual, and economic needs of the West Circle community. The Brown House strives to be a place in the West Circle community where those historically denied by society can find belonging, ways to provide for their family, and the personal dignity found in God. Photo: Michelle Smart presents donation to The Brown House.
S.D. Allen Ministries: On April 27th, 2011, a catastrophic tornado left many Tuscaloosa families without their homes and possessions. After the disaster, Calvary Baptist and many local churches decided to work together to help provide for those who had lost everything. S.D. Allen was a longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church who had a heart and vision for local missions. Upon his passing, he left a generous financial gift that was used to build a spacious warehouse. S.D. Allen’s legacy lives on through this building, which provides a space for the nonprofit to house furniture before providing it to families throughout the county. Although S.D. Allen Ministries mainly focuses on providing beds for families, they also collect and distribute couches, tables, chairs, and more to help neighbors turn their houses into homes. The S.D. Allen Building operates a furniture donation and delivery ministry, a student missionary program, and the Hope Initiative Rehab and Repair Ministry. Al of their initiatives help accomplish the mission of getting neighbors proper furniture. Photo: Michelle Smart and Max Karrh present donation to
S.D. Allen Ministries.
The Community Food Bank of Central AL: The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama supplies millions of meals per year to over 230 Partner Agencies, like food pantries, shelters, and children’s programs in 12 counties across central Alabama. The aim of this nonprofit is to ensure people in need can access emergency food near where they live. Rather than duplicate services in communities, they partner with and enable local agencies to reach more people. When agencies partner with them, they have consistent access to fresh food that they distribute free of charge. When they identify a gap in this network that leaves specific populations vulnerable to hunger, they operate direct meal programs. For example, they provide fresh produce and groceries to seniors, children at risk of hunger during school breaks, patients facing chronic illness, first-time mothers, and others in need. Photo: Karly Allison and Ross Silas present donation to The Community Food Bank.
Oak Mountain Missions: With spiritual inspiration and the support of area churches, Oak Mountain Mission Ministries was formed by Mr. Roddy Cooper and chartered as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2001. In its early years, the Mission served others from Roddy’s garage and mini warehouse. As the need for support grew, the Mission expanded and served clients from a facility in Riverchase. In March, 2009 the Mission moved to its present 10,000 square foot facility in Pelham which allowed it to increase both the number of people and types of support it could provide. The facility has refrigeration and a pantry for food, rooms for clothing selection, warehouse, and prayer room. While providing food remains the most significant role of the Mission, its services have expanded through the years to include clothing, furniture, household items, and financial assistance. Photo: Natalie Spott and Bobby Humphrey present donation to Oak Mountain Ministries.
Red Mountain Grace is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing gracious housing to out-of-town patients and caregivers during their extended medical stays in Birmingham. Red Mountain Grace believes everyone should experience grace during life’s most challenging moments. That is why this program maintains and continues to expand a portfolio of clean, quiet, comfortable apartments within a few miles of world-class hospitals, where families can settle and unwind as they endure their loved ones’ arduous medical regimens. Red Mountain Grace has welcomed over 1,000 families since opening its doors in August of 2013. They currently operate 20 apartment homes, and look forward to more growth in years to come. Photo: Natalie Spott and Jeremy Tuggle present donation to Red Mountain Grace.
Athens Main Street / The Spirit of Athens began in 2006 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization and future growth of downtown Athens. It was modeled after the Main Street approach, given Alabama did not have, at the time, an active Main Street State program to join. Throughout the past 13 years, AMS has made significant contributions to downtown Athens, including the establishment of a Certified Farmers Market that operates each Saturday, June through August. AMS is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to the renovation, revitalization, and future growth of the City of Athens downtown area. AMS fulfills its purpose through public/private partnerships with the City of Athens, Limestone County Commission and many private organizations, businesses, and individuals. Photo: Josh Winn, Logan Pressnell, Zach Powell and Tommy Coblentz present donation to Athens Main Street.
Boys and Girls Club of Athens is doing whatever it takes to build Great Futures. Every community, family, school system and young person is different. Boys & Girls Clubs across North Alabama are designed to integrate into communities and meet the needs of their youth right where they are. They provide programs, people and pathways that teach young people how to live, lead, and serve no matter where they are from or what challenges they face. This program accomplishes their goals by partnering with people and organizations who understand that building a better community begins with providing our youth with an education that provides real-life skills for the real world. Photo: Tommy Coblentz and Tom McCrary present donation to the Boys and Girl Club of Athens.
Kids to Love: The Kids to Love Foundation has grown to become a lot of things since it began in 2004 in founder and CEO Lee Marshall’s garage. Since then, Kids to Love has served hundreds of thousands of children living in foster care, putting clothes on their backs, getting Christmas presents under the tree and giving them scholarships for the next steps of their education. The Kids to Love Center in Madison is the center of this program’s outreach. It contains the warehouse for Christmas, emergency assistance and school supplies, as well as the Alabama-licensed Child Placing Agency. It also is the home of KTECH’s classrooms, computer labs and training spaces. Photo: Lisa Smith, Herman Stubbs, Rhonda Anderson and Cheryl McCowan presents donation to Kids to Love.
Free 2 Teach: As a result of Alabama’s challenges in budgets for classroom supplies, many of Alabama’s public school teachers resort to using their own funds to purchase them. Free 2 Teach was created to answer this need. Initially run out of founder Eula Battle’s garage, Free 2 Teach now operates out of a 10,000 square-foot retail/warehouse space in the Huntsville area where teachers can come and “shop” for items they need without having to worry about paying for them. Photo: Samantha Chapell and Mike Johnston presents donation to Free to Teach.
Village of Promise works to lift families out of poverty by employing a multi-generational approach. They do this by crafting unique plans for each family. Plans include educational resources for children from pre-school all the way through college, and programs for adults ranging from literacy and ESL programs to parenting classes, to curricula designed to help adults earn their GED or learn a trade. Photo: Zach Row, Herman Stubbs, Allison Jones and Forrest Merrill present donation to Village of Promise.
Patterson Place is a “out of the box” innovative vocational community for adults with special needs. They provide a place where citizens with disabilities will continue to learn and work; being celebrated and empowered in a God-centered environment as they engage in meaningful work and service. Patterson Place wants to change the way the world views this population by letting those individuals create beautiful, remarkable items to sell to help sustain the vocational community they enjoy every day. They become artisans, bakers, card makers, jewelry makers, and more. Photo: Diane Carrasquillo, Allison Jones, Allie Atanas present donation to Patterson Place.
North Alabama Spay and Neuter: The mission of the North Alabama Spay and Neuter Clinic is to end overpopulation of companion animals by providing high quality care to our community, rescues and shelters. They provide high quality services at affordable prices. NASNC is a non-profit 501c3 business. Photo: Julia Glover, Maddie Nelson, Allison Jones, Christy Hall, Steuart Evans, Allie Atanas.
305 8th Street’s mission is to cultivate a family of diverse disabled adults who are ineligible of receiving state assistance and provide them a home and opportunities that enable them to grow in their community. As a faith-based, non-profit, Eighth Street Community provides services for adults with diverse disabilities ranging from autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, hearing impaired, cognitive disability, and visually impaired. Since 1979, they have aimed to: provide quality structured living arrangements and care plans, advocate for individual strengths, improve the quality of life activities that enable personal growth, and broaden their residents’ network of friends and family. Photo: Scott Ellis, Diane Carrasquillo and Kristie Ray present donation to 305 8th Street.
Food Bank of North Alabama takes a two fold approach to end hunger in North Alabama. First, they offer hunger relief programs that immediately feed hungry people in need. Second, they address hunger’s root causes through local food initiatives that foster entrepreneurship and healthy food access. Their mission is to feed the hungry today AND create solutions that will end hunger tomorrow. They accomplish this mission by supplying 13 million pounds of food a year to a network of over 200 food pantries, shelters and children’s programs in 11 counties of North Alabama. Together they feed over 80,000 people at risk of hunger annually. They also address hunger’s root causes through broad-scale collaborations and local food initiatives that foster entrepreneurship and healthy food access across our region. Photo: Mason Wohlcke, Kristie Ray, Christina Legget, Amy Childress, Diane Carrasquillo.
Merrimack Academy for the Performing Arts offers services to children and adults with special needs that no other organization in the Southeast currently provides. Their mission is to provide visual and performing arts education and cultural activities to children and adults with special needs. Founded in 2008, Merrimack Hall started as 1 weekly dance class for 10 children with special needs. Over more than a decade, our programs have grown to 23 arts related classes that serve hundreds of individuals with special needs from Huntsville, Madison county, and across North Alabama. These extracurricular activities enrich the social and creative needs of all who are involved. Photo: Diane Carrasquillo, Mason Wohlcke, Ken Watson present donation to 305 8th Street.
Manna House is the food distribution program of the Huntsville Dream Center, a 501c3 public charity. They are volunteers serving our community to meet the needs of those experiencing difficult situations. As a community of many cultures, faiths, economic levels, and educational backgrounds they come together to improve the quality of the life for others in our community. Photo: Jack Jones, Conner Poslajko, Mason Wohlcke, Megan Keyser, Rhonda Anderson.
First Stop Inc. is all about meeting homeless people where they are and connecting them to vital services. This organization exists not to just serve these unfortunate souls and make them more comfortable, but to help them out of homelessness. Homeless people are faced with daily challenges, and in many cases, have lost all hope. And, while there are no easy answers or solutions, a problem as complex and diverse as homelessness must be met with comprehensive solutions. This is what First Stop seeks to do by working one-on-one with homeless clients to identify obstacles, set goals, and partner with other agencies and community organizations to create a realistic plan for meaningful growth and change. Photo: Shannon Jackson, Cherie Baird, Angie Stutts, Susan Walker, Herman Stubbs present donation to First Stop, Inc.