Avondale Samaritan Place is a joint vision of Avondale and Canterbury United Methodist Churches for outreach and mission in the Avondale Community.  Our two churches formed Avondale Samaritan Place in 2013 to be a “Community Hub for Christian Service.”  Housed in the Avondale UMC gymnasium building, ASP brings together people from Avondale, Canterbury, and the surrounding community to facilitate the sort of connections between neighbors (businesses included!) that improve everyone's lives.

The work of ASP focuses particularly on helping people who are on the margins.  As the community continues to grow, be revitalized, and transform, ASP’s work is essential in helping everyone in Avondale to experience the love of God in Christ and to understand that all are welcome at God’s table.  For more information ... email michael@avonumc.net ... or call 205.868.3345.

  • Dr. Michael Wilson
  • Jeff Bowman
  • Javonia Darling

ASP Celebrates 10 Years

Ten years ago, on July 10, 2013, Avondale United Methodist Church and Canterbury United Methodist Church officially incorporated Avondale Samaritan Place. Since then, ASP has helped to transform many lives and serves as a respite for our friends and neighbors in the community. Following are ten stories to celebrate ten years of ministry.

Community Events

ASP’s mission is to be a center for Christian outreach in the 35212 and 35222 zip codes. One of the ways we seek to develop relationships with our neighbors is through a series of community events we host throughout the year. The goal is to bring folks of varied backgrounds together for high energy family friendly holiday based events. As families make crafts, play games, decorate cookies, and have their holiday photos made,  we aim to establish ASP as a safe place where the neighborhood can gather and needs can be met. Bakesgiving, Cookies with Santa, and Egg-cetera all offer opportunities for volunteers to come serve and enjoy the festivities as well! These events generally cost ASP $1,000 to host. Please give here to support ASP as we reach out to our neighbors!

Use Your Noodle

Use Your Noodle is a three week high quality, creative summer enrichment camp that debuted just this past summer with great success! The program was shaped by two local professors and four Birmingham area elementary teachers and was (and will be) open to students who have completed K, 1st , 2nd, or 3rd grades and attend one of the six area elementary schools. UYN focuses on literacy, math, and science in order to guide students toward a lifetime love of learning! Educating one student for this three-week period cost $1000 this past summer. You may have seen UYN on the news this summer where they highlighted one of our students, Kree, who declared “I’m smart… wait, everybody is smart!” Yessss! Please consider supporting a student for the 2024 session by donating here.

Homeless Ministry

ASP serves our homeless neighbors in two ways. If a homeless neighbor knocks on the ASP door during the week while a staff person is there and they are hungry, they will receive a well-stocked snack bag, a cold bottle of water, and a smile from one of our staff! In addition, in order to build relationship and trust with these men and women, a weekly sit down lunch is offered on Mondays. These neighbors come in and are served the sandwich of their choice, hand-made by volunteers. One of our social workers joins the group for lunch so that these neighbors have the opportunity to share their needs. Our social workers are able to assist with items such as doctor’s appointments, identification, further nutritional aid, and potentially even housing! A week’s worth of snack bags costs approximately $75 , and our monthly lunch total cost is approximately $200 . Please consider supporting our homeless ministry here. 

Food Cooperatives

ASP currently operates three separate food cooperatives! All meet once a month on Mondays from 9am-11am. Known as Alpha, Omega, and Joy, each of these groups can accommodate up to 30 members. Each member represents a family, so each co-op actually seeks to feed about 75-90 individuals! This model of food ministry is designed for folks who are food insecure, have reliable transportation, and have some ability to participate physically in the sorting, packaging, and perhaps the loading process. Our co-ops provide canned goods, fresh produce, flash frozen meats, and breads. Our co-op members enjoy building community and developing skills through teamwork, all while having a good time serving one another! You can help feed one of our food cooperative families for a year by donating $250 here.

Beeson Senior Services Lunches and Social Work Assistance

Our social workers, Jeff and Javonia, are instrumental to the work of ASP. They help us identify the needs our neighbors have, prioritize those needs, and put together a plan to help meet those needs. One of the events we partner with Beeson Senior Services on is a monthly seniors lunch at ASP. Jeff and Javonia bring about 35 of their clients to ASP for a lively and delicious themed lunch. Communion and devotion are followed by chair exercises, Bingo, Mrs. Gloria singing “Happy Birthday”, and lots of chatter. Without Jeff and Javonia, no doubt we would love people well and provide some assistance. However, these social workers complete the loop by connecting neighbors to the resources that allow them to live to their fullest potential in the areas of health, housing, food, AND spirit! $400 would cover one of our Beeson Senior Services lunches. To support this ministry please donate here.

The Pencil Box

Each July just before the start of school, the ASP gym is transformed into a school supply store! Students from our six area elementary schools are invited to come shop brand new items that have been donated by members of Avondale and Canterbury UMCs as well as Avondale neighbors. In addition, in the spirit of preparing to return to school, this store offers an interactive math experience for the students! They are given play money as they enter the store, and they “shop” the store with this money. This requires a little refresh in addition and subtraction! The students love “checking out” and realizing they might be able to go back and get that pencil pouch or backpack they really wanted!  This is a great volunteer opportunity, so join us as a volunteer, and/or support one student’s supplies at $40 by donating here. 

Christmas Market

Now in its 6th year, Avondale Samaritan Place Market is an awesome opportunity for our underserved neighbors to experience a dignified Christmas shopping experience! Our team reaches out to ministry partners who will invite their clients to register to shop the market. The ASP gym becomes an amazing display of toys and games as the Market comes to life.  Once again Avondale and Canterbury UMC members along with other neighborhood groups donate brand new toys to stock the store. Shoppers are asked to pay 10-20% of the retail cost of the items, and they are able to experience the dignity of making choices about what their children will receive for Christmas.  In addition, we hire folks from the community to work the market, so this addresses one of our goals which is job creation. The joy is palpable from set up to break down of the SPM, and we would love for you to be involved! Please look for the opportunity to volunteer at this event, and consider donating $100 to help purchase items from the Amazon wish list for one child!

Move It

MOVE IT is a fall and spring after school program ASP hosts along with the Kinesiology Program at the UAB Department of Education. Students from Avondale Elementary and Red Mountain Community School come directly after school once a week for 6-8 weeks to our gym space. Many of these kids are unable to play outside when they return home after school for safety reasons, so Move It allows them a healthy and safe alternative! The UAB students make staying physically active fun through individual and group activities that  change each week. The kids build muscle, friendships, heart health and confidence through this program. The cost to run this program per student is approximately $50.  Please keep a child safe AND active by donating here.

Yard Work Ministry

Many folks in our community can no longer maintain their lawn due to age, health, or lack of funds to purchase equipment or hire help. The City of Birmingham will cite homeowners for the state of their lawn and property, have the lawn cut/trimmed, and then put an unaffordable lien on the property. Our Yard Work Ministry seeks to assist in solving this problem by cutting their grass, blowing, pulling vines, and weed eating. We have a crew who goes out two days a week from June through October to help our neighbors in need. This is also an area we love to have volunteers, so please contact us to get involved! Operating this ministry each week June-October due to staff wages, cost of gas/truck maintenance, and equipment is approximately $350. Please support us as we support our community.

Economic Development

A part of our mission at Avondale Samaritan Place is job creation. We have been fortunate to identify and hire a number of part-time employees from the community we serve. This group of six people are individuals who also participate in our assistance programs. They help with the Food Cooperative, our Yard Work Ministry, assisting the Crisis Clinic, supporting Feeding Avondale, and lending a hand with all our seasonal programming. They are the heart and backbone of so much of what we do. On a typical week at ASP where we are hosting food co-op, yard ministry, crisis clinic, Move It, and having our space cleaned, staff costs run close to $1,000. Our folks work much harder than their paycheck shows, please consider supporting one week of hourly staff wages here.

Interested in Learning More or Getting Involved?

Reach out to our Executive Director, Michael Wilson (Michael@avonumc.net).