Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”
To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16, 2023, Samford University’s Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives (ODII) hosted a service project for all students, faculty and employees who wished to spend the day honoring King’s legacy through acts of service.
“Community service is at the heart of the civil rights movement and it is also at the heart of everything we do here at Samford,” said Denise Gregory, associate provost for student success and diversity and inclusion. “We hope to give our students an opportunity to give back this Martin Luther King Jr. Day as we reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King and continuing the important work that he and several other community leaders began.”
This year, ODII partnered with Grace House Ministries for the service project. Located in Fairfield, Alabama, Grace House has been providing stable, Christian homes for Alabama girls in foster care for 30 years. Their comprehensive approach seeks to end cycles of poverty and abuse that can be prevalent in the lives of the girls that they serve. By educating, equipping and empowering their girls, Grace House seeks to see all the children entrusted to their care grow and mature into Godly women.
“Grace House is a Christian residential campus of homes for Alabama girls in foster care. We offer 24/7 care to girls who have been removed from the custody of their families due to abandonment, neglect and/or abuse,” said Hannah Rutledge, ministry and volunteer coordinator at Grace House Ministries.
With over 2,500 Alabama girls in foster care each year, Grace House is prepared to meet the needs, house and care for as many girls as they can while presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ with grace and mercy.
“The saying ‘it takes a village’ is true for us at Grace House. We depend on our volunteers as a part of the Grace House family to pour into girls and provide for them as well. From cutting grass to organizing supplies and donations—it all plays into the bigger picture of giving the girls the best care we possibly can,” said Rutledge.
“We love seeing our partners and volunteers get their feet wet in the ministry while serving the girls. They are the reason that we can open our Storehouse. God has called us to be His workers—‘He said to His disciples, the Harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,’ Matthew 9:37. When they step foot on campus to serve Monday, they will be laboring in the harvest field that God has called us to,” said Rutledge.