BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH
Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM) will be hosting a barbecue block party Aug. 27 at the ARM office ahead of its annual “No More Shacks” campaign.
Those interested will be able to buy a ticket for either a barbecue or hot dog meal, which can be picked up on Aug. 26 or at the block party on Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Barbecue plates are $10 and include two sides and a slice of cake, while a hot dog plate is $6 and includes chips. In addition, there will be live music and games at the event.
While ARM has been hosting No More Shacks annually for more than a decade, the barbecue event is a new addition, according to ARM Case Manager Lawton Vallely. All proceeds from the block party will support the cause of No More Shacks.
The purpose of the party — and the campaign — is to raise awareness of substandard housing and come up with solutions to end the struggle.
“Alabama Rural Ministry exists to provide support, hope and ministry to families in Alabama struggling with poverty,” said Mark Grizzard, who is serving as interim director at ARM. “We seek to help people overcome poverty by helping with substandard housing. Currently we have 28 projects going on in the area.”
The “Shack” has long been a staple of the campaign, with an ARM staff member living in it for a few days during the campaign to shine a light on what many people living in poverty have to face.
“The Shack is a small structure with no electricity or running water,” Grizzard explained. “It is set up at Auburn University each year to raise awareness for families living in poverty. We have worked with residents with no electricity or running water.”
At the block party, the Shack will be on display with ARM staff on hand to answer questions. The Shack will then be set up at the Wesley Foundation on South Gay Street in Auburn from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, according to Grizzard.
“We hope that the community will see and realize the need in our area,” Grizzard said. “Many people are living in homes that are in terrible shape. Many families have children and elderly adults living in conditions that are horrendous.”
For those who want to support the cause but don’t want a meal, there is an option to “donate” the plate they purchase. Vallely said ARM will use those donations to feed homeless people in Columbus, Georgia.
To purchase a ticket or donate a meal, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 334-501-4276 or speak with an ARM staff member. The ARM office is located at 200 N. 26th St. in Opelika.