1 month ago

Wendy Taylor helps the hungry with Barrels of Love in Decatur



Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Wendy Taylor found a way to deliver love by the barrel-full.

Taylor started Barrels of Love six years ago as an emergency food and shelter program for the needy in Decatur. Taylor was discussing with Gayle Monk how Monk’s pantry at the Committee on Church Cooperation nonprofit would be empty by February. They tried to figure out how to keep their shelves stocked all year.

“I went back to my management team at my place of business and said we needed to do something,” Taylor said. “We discovered we have industries up and down the river but no events that incorporate everyone together. What a great thing it would be to have an industry-wide food drive.”

Taylor contacted a few of the industries, and Barrels of Love was born.

“What we did was put together a nonperishable food drive,” Taylor said. “We use these recycled containers, we put them out into the community and they are brought back filled with food. It’s really a wonderful thing. It kicks off this year on Valentine’s Day at Ingalls Harbor from 8 to 11 in the morning. You come and pick up your barrel, and on March 2, all of that food gets sorted and goes back into the community.”

The food is distributed to the Committee on Church Cooperation, the Salvation Army and a backpack program for the Morgan County School system.

“When we started six years ago, we had about 50 companies and about 24,000 nonperishable food items,” Taylor said. “Last year we had over 63,000 nonperishable items with 100 different business and companies. It’s grown and has become a beautiful thing.”

The demand is so great that at Committee on Church Cooperation, the food is normally distributed the day it arrives. Any donation makes a big difference.

“When you’re helping over 100 families a week, the food goes out of here quickly,” Monk said. “Our shelves don’t start emptying until about October, but last year they started emptying around August. We were struggling to keep food on the shelves.”

Barrels of Love continues to fill in the gap created by the high demand for food in the Decatur area.

“We had a mother come in the other day with a little girl, and she was shaking her mom’s shirt saying ‘Mama, Mama, are they gonna give us food?’ and when you hear stories like that it gets you right here,” Monk said, motioning to her heart. “You can tell when there is a genuine need. When we bring food out to a client and their eyes get wide and they say ‘Is this all for me?’ Just to make a difference in someone’s life is why we’re all here. Everyone here has a heart to serve, you have to have a heart to serve if you work here.”

For more, visit their website.

Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at karimshamsibasha@gmail.com

(Courtesy of Karim Shamsi-Basha/Alabama News Center)


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13 hours ago

Alabama wins private property rights case against Obama-era regulations

In a victory for private property rights this week, the federal government agreed to reconsider rules adopted during the Obama-era that unreasonably restrict the freedom of Americans to use their land.

“We are encouraged that the Trump administration has agreed to revisit these rules, which threaten property owners’ rights to use any land that the federal government could dream that an endangered species might ever inhabit,” Alabama Attorney General Marshall said in a statement.

Why this matters: Under these rules, unelected federal bureaucrats could designate a piece of private property as “critical habitat” for an endangered species even if the land doesn’t contain that particular species and, moreover, doesn’t even contain some of the features needed to support that species. Use of the land would then be severely limited. 


The details:

— The state filed a lawsuit, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service, in November of 2016 challenging the rules, calling them “an unlawful federal overreach.”

— Nearly 20 other states joined the lawsuit, along with four large trade associations.

— The settlement forces federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and retains our freedom to file another lawsuit if their new rules are as excessive as the old ones.

@jpepperbryars is the editor of Yellowhammer News and the author of American Warfighter

13 hours ago

Jeff Sessions is right to sue California for ignoring federal immigration laws

America may be a country of immigrants, but it’s also a country of laws. No one is exempt from those laws regardless of what some local officials in sanctuary cities may think.

As you may have seen on the news recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a lawsuit against the State of California for failure to completely cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.  I stand with AG Sessions’ decision.

From the mayors and local politicians disregarding federal immigration law to the illegal immigrants they are prioritizing over American citizens, it’s about time we hold these lawless individuals accountable.


The “leaders” in these cities are violating their oath of office and the Constitution.  They should be immediately removed from their positions and the illegal immigrants they are protecting should be deported. Period.

I agree with President Trump that we need to strengthen our borders.  We should build the wall and we should continue to support law enforcement’s crackdown on violent foreign gangs like MS-13.

These efforts mean nothing though if illegal immigrants and criminals can continue to seek refuge in some of our country’s largest cities.

It boils down to fairness, safety and what it means to be a sovereign nation.

A country without borders is hardly a country at all. I’m fed up with seeing the tax dollars from hard-working families across East Alabama go to cities who snub their nose at the very ideals that make America great.  Congress should withhold funding from sanctuary cities that refuse to uphold federal law.

President Trump has proven his tough stance on illegal immigration is much more than just campaign rhetoric. He has already done so much to curtail our illegal immigration crisis but he can’t do it alone.

Elected officials – from the state and local level to Members of Congress – must do their part.

And if they refuse, then they aren’t fit for public service.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is a Republican from Saks.

(Image:U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Flickr)

14 hours ago

WATCH: Cam Newton’s leadership message resonates with Boy Scouts

When Cam Newton speaks, people listen.

The Carolina Panthers quarterback had the full attention of the audience at the 11th annual American Values Luncheon.

Boy Scouts were among attendees that filled the meeting room at the North Exhibition Hall of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.


Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn joined Newton during a question and answer session. Famous for leading the Auburn Tigers to the 2010 National Championship under Malzahn’s leadership, Newton’s talk followed in the tradition of several other football greats, including Nick Saban, Shaquille O’Neal and Bo Jackson.

Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Jesse Lewis Sr. and Jimmy Rane were honored at the luncheon for their contributions to the community.

Newton shared his life experiences and lessons learned.

(Courtesy Alabama News Center)

15 hours ago

Celtic Pride! Joel Blankenship shares his Irish roots with The Ford Faction

Joel Blankenship makes his weekly return to The Ford Faction to talk the St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Birmingham and what the holiday means to him.  Joel mentions the law that can be passed to put Police K9’s in schools to help sniff out guns or drugs.  He provides feedback on what this could mean for schools and how it will benefit the need for police K9’s.

Subscribe to the Yellowhammer Radio Presents The Ford Faction podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

16 hours ago

VIDEO: Alabama Rep. Roby thanks Air Force secretary for decision to bring F-35s to Montgomery

U.S. Representative Martha Roby participated in a defense appropriations subcommittee hearing this week where she expressed her appreciation to Secretary Heather Wilson for the Air Force’s decision to base F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at Dannelly Field in Montgomery.

Roby also discussed other military-related programs in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, including helicopter training at Fort Rucker near Enterprise and the professional education programs at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery.

(Image: Representative Martha Roby/YouTube)