By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
FULTONDALE — A major ministry is packing its bags for a move from Gardendale to Fultondale, with the help of some volunteers.
The North Jefferson Women’s Center is relocating to the former Palmer Norris building in Fultondale, next to Iberia Bank.
On Thursday, volunteers with Keller Williams Realty in Gardendale were hard at work at the new location, helping spruce up the building for its new residents. It was the annual Keller Williams RED (Renew, Energize and Donate) Day, where employees with the company tackle a community project.
“It makes you feel good when you give back to the community,” said Vivian Drake, a realtor with Keller Williams.
“It’s all about the Keller Williams culture,” said realtor Mike Mealer. “The company believes in just doing the right thing.”
This is the fourth RED Day project the Gardendale office has completed. In the past three years, volunteers also did work at Miracle League Field, Cornerstone Ranch and for an individual who was a quadraplegic.
Staff and volunteers at the women’s center were grateful for the men and women who washed windows, cleaned floors, cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms, and did other work at the center.
They also moved some items from the old building to the new one.
The new building will open later this month; a date has not been set because of a holdup with the telephone company.
Director Nancy Shaffer said she is excited to get into the facility because it will open the door to new possibilities for the ministry.
For one thing, there is much more room. The existing center in Gardendale has 1,100 square feet and the new two-story building has 5,500 square feet.
However, board member Brenda Parker said the building is not the most important aspect of the ministry.
“It’s not about the bricks,” she said. “We want God to reside here. It’s all about him and his glory.”
Her husband, Rick Parker, who was also working at the center on Thursday, said a major focus of the ministry is “saving lives of the unborn.”
In addition to offering counseling to pregnant girls and women, the center provides testing for sexually-transmitted diseases for women and men, teaches about abstinence in local schools, assists mothers and babies during the first two years of a child’s life through the Mommy Money program, and much more.
“This is a ministry for people who will probably never go to church,” Brenda Parker said. “We are able to share Christ with people.”
The women’s center is funded largely through donations and depends on volunteers.
Shaffer is the only full-time employee there. There are also three part-time workers and about 30 volunteers. She said more volunteers, including counselors, will be needed at the new facility.
The new building will have the same telephone number: 608-0100.