SILVERHILL — The First Baptist Church in Silverhill is continuing with its mission to collect items for the homeless, thanks to the vision of one young member.
Nine-year-old Kate McDaniel was born with a heart condition.
“It’s really a miracle that she’s still here,” said the Rev. Jason Rothe, pastor of FBC Silverhill.
Because of her condition, Kate travels with her parents, Jan and Dusty McDaniel every year to get checked out at UAB Medical Center in Birmingham.
Last December, while they were walking from the parking lot into the hospital, Kate noticed there were people living underneath an overpass nearby.
“I could just tell they were cold,” she said. And in that moment, Kate says, she decided she wanted to do something to help them.
When they got home, she reached out to Rothe, their local pastor, and asked him if the church would help collect items for the homeless.
“She said The Lord placed the homeless on her heart and she wanted to do something to help them,” Rothe said.
At the time the church was still under COVID restrictions, Rothe said, so he sent out an email asking everyone who could to bring items to the church to donate.
The church also revived its “Mat Ministry” something that had been started before the pandemic but could not meet in person because of restrictions.
“We have a group of ladies that get together and make these mats using scrap materials,” Rothe said. “We were able to contact the ladies, gather the necessary material, so they could pick up what they needed at the church and take it home.”
Once the mats were completed, they were brought back to the church and will be donated to use for beds.
In addition, Kate painted a collection box and placed it in the church foyer where members could come and bring items. Once restrictions were lifted, word of the church’s homeless ministry was placed in the weekly bulletins and Kate was invited to speak one Sunday to the church.
“I just don’t think she had ever seen a homeless person before and it touched her heart,” Dusty McDaniel said. “We are so proud of her that she took it upon herself to help people in need.”
Over the course of several months, the church collected several boxes full of items, including warm clothing such as coats, gloves, socks and undergarments, blankets, sheets and other bedding items. They also collected hygiene items, toothpaste and toothbrushes, toiletries, diapers and other items.
The items were recently donated to the Waterfront Rescue Mission in Foley, which was chosen by Kate because she said they “tell the message of the Gospel,” to those they serve.
In addition, a check for $810 was also presented to the Waterfront Rescue Mission for the homeless.
“We’re going to keep the ball rolling and will continue to collect donations as long as there is a need,” Rothe said.
Donations can be dropped off at the church office, 15879 Silverhill Ave. Donations can also be sent to the church at P.O. Box 246, Silverhill, AL 36576. If you would like more information about what can be donated, contact the church office at 251-945-5182.