In the Black Belt of Alabama, poverty leads to hunger, illness, lack of education and despair.
Enter Terri Byrd, who has worked tirelessly to provide housing, education and nutrition, along with spiritual growth, in one of the poorest counties in the country.
“The Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partners with Perry County to create Sowing Seeds of Hope,” Byrd said. “I work directly with 30 churches in Alabama. We send volunteers from those churches to Perry County for things like our housing program and our summer Seed Camp.”
The first thing you notice when entering Byrd’s office in Hoover is a map covered with pushpins. Those represent all the churches that are involved in helping Perry County. Byrd and Sowing Seeds of Hope have adopted Perry County to counter the ills ravaging the neediest people who live there.
“We facilitate health care clinics down in Perry County, where diabetes rates have been significantly lowered after we began working in that area,” Byrd said. “People now have better access to health care. Our program is now modeled in other counties.”
Sowing Seeds of Hope, which started 10 years ago, is committed to help people with housing, home repairs, health care, spiritual renewal and education. Other goals include caring for senior citizens and providing cultural opportunities. The Alabama Power Foundation and the Alabama Power Service Organization have helped support Sowing Seeds of Hope.
“This work is very meaningful to me,” Byrd said. “It’s one of the things that gives me the most joy. Working with these families who are living in situations of great poverty is very fulfilling. Just to know I am contributing to improving their lives, it’s priceless.”
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 [email protected].