By Emily Williams
The theme for the eighth annual Leadership Breakfast for The Foundry Ministries – Bacon, Football and Hope – served as a nod to keynote speaker Nick Saban, University of Alabama head football coach, as well as celebrating the ministry’s mission.
More than 700 business leaders from the community attended the May 17 event, which focused on the effect The Foundry and Change Lives Christian Center have on members of the greater Birmingham community who are attempting to rebuild their lives.
“The mission of The Foundry is to restore hope and rebuild lives and the mission of Change Lives Christian Center – or as we call it, CLCC – is weaving the homeless back into society. These two missions really fit well together hand-in-hand,” Foundry CEO Micah Andrews said as he welcomed the crowd. “For more than 46 years, The Foundry has been restoring hope to the hopeless. Seven years ago, we joined efforts with Change Lives Christian Center. For men completing a volunteer recovery program, CLCC is the next step in recovery.”
The Foundry provides at least 1,035 meals a day to residents of their Recovery, Re-Entry and Aftercare programs, and more than 400 nights of lodging is offered daily. In addition, the ministry provides meals to homeless and struggling neighbors through community food boxes and a lunch program, a weekly mobile Produce Pantry that delivers 1,500 pounds of fresh produce and nonperishables to low-income neighborhoods, and the Pack-a-Snack program to provide snacks for disadvantaged school-aged boys and girls. More than 4,200 medical visits are provided annually and more than 2,500 lives every year are touched through the programs.
The breakfast event included the presentation of a video highlighting the experience of Foundry’s youth advocate for homeless youth, John Smith. A former addict, Smith said he lost jobs, homes and more because of his struggles, which eventually landed him in prison. Through the Foundry he found a purpose and a job that helped him serve others.
“What we do is look for youth and approach them and build a trusting relationship with them and let them know about our services,” he said. “I just try to connect with them on their level. I’ve been out here on the streets before, so I just be me.”
Just as Smith serves as a leader for homeless youth, in his keynote speech, Saban focused on what it means to be a leader and the key ingredient to being successful leading others: Be what you want to see in a leader and care.
“I think that when you try to do something to lead somebody else, the number one thing is that you have to keep in mind what you are doing is for someone else. Leadership is doing something for someone else for their benefit,” he said.
CLCC and The Foundry Ministries leaders seek to support recovering addicts, ex-inmates and the destitute through a Christian-centered community of programs. Support comes in the form of safe shelter, daily essentials, spiritual guidance, adult education, employment readiness training and fellowship.
“I think a lot of people that are here today have made the choice to do something that is going to benefit this community and benefit a lot of people who are trying to work themselves back into society,” Saban said.The breakfast was organized by a committee that included Chairman Tommy Mayfield, Micah Andrews, Gene Borgosz, Whit Debardeleben, Dave Duncan, Connie Hartley, Bill Heintz, Doug Jackson, Eric Kerley, Guy Martin, Larisa Mills, Mark Peeples, Nancy Peeples and Billy Wood.
The event was emceed by Lauren Sisler of AL.com/ESPN/SEC Network and Jim Dunaway host of JOX Radio.
For more information on The Foundry, visit foundryministries.com.