GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - Despite a fire that destroyed its headquarters, Room in the Inn, Marshall County is moving forward to help the county's homeless, with some help from the communities it serves.
Room in the Inn, Marshall County used to be operated out of LifePoint Church in Albertville. A fire Thursday evening destroyed the building where the nonprofit organization had its day program and daily registration.
"Anything to do with the day program for Room in the Inn, we lost it," said Marshall County Homeless Ministries president Mark Brickey, "All the neighbors lost everything. All of their belongings, except for the stuff they would bring to the various churches each night."
Room in the Inn is one of a few opportunities for Marshall County's homeless. Through the program, folks can get a warm place to sleep at night, a hot meal, and a chance to rebuild their lives through opportunities within the day program. The cold weather shelter provides 24/7 assistance, November through March. Each night about 35 churches all over the county rotate to transport and house the participants.
The day after the fire, the organization was up and running in Guntersville at The Venue, next to Crawmama's off of U.S. Highway 431.
"This community has been amazing," Brickey said, "The night of the fire, Jeff and Kathryn Baucom opened up The Venue, a business they own right beside their restaurant, to the neighbors for the rest of the season for the day program."
Donation drop-off locations are set up at WQSB in Albertville, the Albertville Chamber of Commerce, Arby's in Guntersville, and The Venue. They need sheets, pillowcases, towels, wash cloths, all sizes of men's and women's undergarments, cleaning supplies, and office supplies. The organization is accepting monetary donations, too.
Registration is still every day from 12-3 at The Venue in Guntersville. Participants need a picture ID to sign up, are drug and alcohol tested, and undergo background checks for violent and sexual offenses.
Anyone who needs to can stay in the program as long as they need to, as long as they're working toward goals and following the organization's rules.
If you want to volunteer or need shelter you can call (256) 677-9231.
The fire at LifePoint has been hard for the church community and for the organization that utilized the building. “I want to say a great thank you to LifePoint Church," Brickey said, "I mean, in the midst of their tragedy every news article, Facebook Live, they’ve talked about their education building but they’ve also talked about Room in the Inn and the neighbors, and it’s just amazing to have partners like that in ministry.”
Brickey added before the fire they were looking for a new location to house the day program. Now the search is more pressing for next season.
The organization is moving forward in its mission to help others, with some help.
"Thursday night, I was up at LifePoint when the fire was going on, and there were just people already, 'what can we do, where can we bring stuff?'" Brickey said, "We've had such an outpouring of support from the community. Just typical Marshall County."