Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 29, 2013


 Auburn shacks highlight a serious housing problem in Alabama


        If you live in a nice home in a nice neighborhood you may not be aware that thousands of people in Alabama lack adequate housing. While thousands of us fill our football stadiums every weekend and enjoy the good life, some of our neighbors do not have the funds to repair a leaking roof or repair a hole in the kitchen floor.

          One woman in Auburn is determined to help the hundreds of families whose homes need repairs they cannot afford. That woman is Lisa Pierce, executive director of Alabama Rural Ministry (ARM). Lisa is relentlessly devoted to her cause and willing to do strange things to draw attention to the plight of Alabama’s poor.

          On Friday, October 11, Lisa will start bunking in a shack on Gay Street in Auburn. Her shack will be set up in front of the Auburn Wesley Foundation. Lisa plans to live in that shack for up to eight days to raise awareness about poverty housing. Her goal is to raise fifty thousand dollars. More than one hundred families in the area have asked for help with home repairs. ARM will use the money raised to help as many families as possible.  

          While Lisa will be sleeping in her shack at night she will not be confined to it. She will be busy greeting visitors and donors and sharing facts about poverty in Alabama with everyone who will listen.  

Lisa is persuasive. She has convinced several local pastors to join her by staying in two other shacks near her shack. These pastors are only staying for 24 hours during which time they will be calling on their friends to make a donation or pledge to ARM.

Some of these caring pastors from area churches are David Warren, Earl Ballard, Rusty Hutson, Brian Johnson, George Mathison and Charles Cummings. I was planning to join them but my good friend George took the last mattress available so I will have to stay home and pray for them.

Faithful parishioners had better get out their checkbooks. Each of these pastors is expected to raise five thousand dollars for ARM. I have an idea George will raise at least twenty thousand. His wonderful members at Auburn Methodist will not want their beloved old pastor to spend all night in that shack.

          Children and youth will enjoy visiting the shacks to see Lisa and her friends and to hear some of the information she will be sharing. Children who donate five dollars will receive a paint brush and get to apply paint to the shacks. Lisa’s outreach to kids is not surprising. ARM engages in ministry to children in three counties mainly during the summer.

          Some of you know that my wife and I have a personal interest in ARM. Our son Steve serves as ARM’s Construction Coordinator. We are genuinely proud that Steve has answered the call to help ARM fulfill its mission: to extend the love of Christ through home repair and children’s ministry in rural parts of Alabama.  

          Ninety thousand people in Alabama do not have adequate housing. That is a disturbing fact that should motivate us all to do at least two things: give thanks for what Lisa and her staff are doing and make a generous donation to ARM. I will be expecting a call from David and Earl and I will have my check ready to send in. I hope many of you who are reading this will be moved to join me in making a donation to this splendid cause. You don’t have to send a thousand dollars; you can send a hundred or even ten.  If enough of us do what we can, together we can make a difference.

If compassion gets the best of you, you can go ahead and send a donation to ARM at P. O. Box 2890, Auburn, AL 36831. If you want more information feel free to call Lisa and her staff at 334-501-4276. + + +