206 Stokes Street
Huntsville, AL 35805
Volume 2 Number 2 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fall/Winter 2009
Executive Director’s observed: “who in their right mind needs such as restrooms, showers,
Message would be content to live on the storage of personal items, laundry,
streets, under the bridges, or in the mailing address, telephone contact
As we head into woods for 365 days a year, year in and food, clothing and blankets/
the last months of and year out?”. We really know the sleeping bags. When they become
this calendar year, answer and we can see how so many eligible for case management, we
we again realize homeless persons gravitate to provide ID cards, mental and
that the homeless substance abuse and living life one physical health care, and assistance
care burden grows day at a time, unable to think about in applying for benefits. Our goal is
more demanding their needs for the next day. to prepare for, and to move them
as the years go by. into, housing as soon as they are
While the numbers We are working hard to change this
of street homeless pattern by providing a caring
coming to our door are increasing, environment and by rebuilding their In just the last 30 months, we have
the bigger problems lie in their faith in themselves and in the world assisted 62 persons to move into low-
individual needs. The newer clients around them. It is a slow process income housing or Chronically Ill
seem to have more serious and that does not happen overnight, but designated rent-free apartments in
greater need for mental health care our successes ar e real an d conjunction with the Huntsville
rewarding. From the day a homeless Housing Authority. We maintain
The mental health care issue is person comes to us, we expect these housed clients under case
probably a case worker’s biggest certain efforts on their part for us to management with weekly home visits
concern. As one case worker help them. In return we offer basic (Continue on page 2—Director)
I speak for First Stop entire Board of Directors and staff when I say we welcome and thank you for your support.
Our Board is made up of all volunteers that are dedicated to serving our community through long-term giving pro-
grams and opportunities. We come from diverse background in all walks of life and experiences and can provide
unique insight, both as donors and as people responsible for meeting your charitable giving goals
More importantly we welcome the opportunity to talk or meet with you to discuss how best our programs can meet
your personal of giving.
Homelessness is increasing across the nation. When the economy is in a rut, homelessness increases. When jobs
are scarce, we expect to see more homeless people. Though for some it's a temporary condition, homelessness is a
cycle that's difficult to break out of. Many people will become homeless at separate times in life for different rea-
sons. In some ways, homelessness begets homelessness. If a person has a previous mental health disorder, being
homeless will make it worse. Addictions are difficult to treat if you're dealing with life on the street. Homelessness
is a vicious cycle.
Winston Churchill once said “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Together we es-
tablish a framework for long term giving that will influence the life of the giver and the life of the receiver.
~ Aladin Beshir ~
Please keep First Stop in mind when making your
tax deductible donations. First Stop is an IRS qualified 501 (c)(3). All
monetary donations are tax deductible and should be made payable to
We also participate in the Combined Federal Campaign. Our CFC # is 15540
First Stop Board of Directors New Sign/Logo on the Front Door
Mel Adams Sara Crocker Charles Ray Have you been to First Stop lately? You
Aladin Beshir Will Culver Larry Sisterman should have an easier time finding the
David Block Willie Love Jack Stokes building......we have a beautiful new sign/
Briana Cousins Mike Lowe Chuck Vedane logo on the front door.....come by and see it.
Editor: Sara Crocker
Executive Director’s Message
(Continued from page 1—Director)
for at least six months until we are sure they can make it on their own. This has resulted in a success rate of
96%, compared with the national goal of 72%.
In the past year we have physically worked with 252 different individuals and constant case load of 120 clients
under case management. Of these, 20% are female, 39% are minority, 40% are veterans, and 40% are
professionally diagnosed with mental illness. There are more in this category, but no one can be forced to seek
Despite many efforts at frugality, the First Stop operating cost will exceed $250,000 this year - up from
$203,000 last year. Income is not quite as much and we need close to an additional $20,000 from non-grant
sources to balance the books this year. We have two new Federal grants in hand, but they require expenditure
before we can invoice and payment will range up to 60 days after we invoice. Elsewhere in this issue we have
provided a summary of the grant income and wonderful congregations, corporations and individuals who have
helped First Stop.
The Huntsville blanket drive has been extremely successful, and with a few shortage items, (batteries,
flashlights, underwear and canned good) our supplies for the outreach is nearly sated. What we can’t use is
sent to the other agencies in town. We appreciate every bit of assistance with all of our hearts.
The First Stop Incorporated has undergone a number of institutional changes this year. We now have a part
time bookkeeper (David Holland) separate from IMS and all property records and insurance documentation are
solely titled to First Stop Inc. Our accounting office is now transferred to a private office in the United Way
Building. The First Stop is gradually developing independent Policies and Procedures as needed. As an
organization the staff and the Board are working to build a business based reputation for the First Stop in our
unique Homeless Support Environment.
A Big Thank You!!!!
Many, many thanks go to those congregations, organization and people that have supported First Stop and our
homeless over the past year. The following list represent those that have given at least $500.
Alabama Civil Justice Foundation Monte Sano UMC
Alabama Credit Union NABMS
Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Pyar Foundation
Compass Charities/BBVA Compass Bank Randolph School
Epworth United Methodist Church St. Stephen’s Episcopal Congregation
ERC, Inc St. Thomas Episcopal Congregation
Etz Chayim—Huntsville Conservative Temple B’nai Sholom our STARS
EV8 Stage Systems The Huntsville Islamic Center
Synagogue The Rock Congregation
Faith Presbyterian Church Trinity Methodist Men’s Club
Good Shepherd Catholic Congregation Valley Fellowship Congregation
Holmes Street United Methodist Church Valley Methodist Church
Holy Spirit Regional Elementary School Unitarian Universalist Church
Huntsville Area Friends Venturi
Light of Christ Center WalMart Foundation
Mission Guild of Church of the Nativity Willowbrook Baptist Church
And many other congregations, groups, and individual that brought over donations of blankets, coats, clothing,
meal packs, and food.....a BIG THANK YOU!!! If we missed you, please let us know.
Please remember First Stop when making charitable contributions
Combined Federal Campaign
First Stop is an IRS qualified 501 (c)(3). All monetary donations are tax
deductible and should be made payable to First Stop. Non-cash donations are
deductible according to IRS guidelines.
We also participate in the Combined Federal Campaign. Our CFC # is 15540
"First Stop Outreach has an urgent need for all sizes of batteries ( AAA, AA, C, and D). The homeless need
these for flashlights and radios. Radios are the only source of news/entertainment at night and it gets
pretty dark under the bridges and in the woods. Please tell your friends not to forget the homeless and
request battery donations." Thanks ~ Bob ~
We Love to Give Tours of Our Facility
First Stop is very proud of what we do to help the
homeless. We love to share what we do with the
community. If you would like a tour, please call
ahead and we will make arrangements for a conven-
ient time to show you our building and let you know
what we do to help the homeless. Call 533-3391 to
schedule a time to visit.
From left to right: Brenda Wade (Launch Operations
Support Specialist—Huntsville Operations Support
Center), Sakeenah Bowden (First Stop Supervisor
Case Manager), Aladin Beshir (President of First Stop
Board), and some clients helping to unload donations
of blankets and coats that were donated by NASA
and contractor employees who support the Space
Shuttle and International Space Station in Huntsville.
Bridge Ministry Update
By Jonette Jones
As winter comes upon us and especially our many homeless friends, procuring and delivering wood has
been one of our major priorities. Many people have let us know about wood they have, and we are so
thankful to all of them. The main issue we have right now is getting the wood delivered. Some men from the
church have volunteered and have helped us, but much more wood is out there. If anyone has a desire to
help us, please let us know. Nelson is planning on following Dr. Bill and Bob (or Larry) on their prospective
routes on a couple of Tuesdays, and will deliver wood to the other camps, and learn where these other
camps are so that we can continue to help them this winter.
We are also continuing our bi-monthly visits to Derrick, Stokes, and Blake Streets camps. We usually carry
some food, but find that what they want more than anything is to have someone to talk with them and care
about them. We know many groups will be ministering to all of the homeless this season, so they will be
getting fed quite a bit. We will continue to go out though every other Saturday. This Saturday is a normal
day for us, so we will be there. If anyone is ever interested in going with us, please let us know.
Our church, Willowbrook Baptist Church, like so many others, have been so gracious in collecting clothing
items, coats, and blankets. Most of these have been collected through the preschool and children's
departments. We are so thankful for the lessons being taught to these children, as they will be our future
We pray that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a much Blessed Christmas!
If you want to get in touch with us, you can call Nelson Jones at 256-508-1098 or me (Jonette) at 256-656-
8955. Nelson's email is email@example.com.
A Thank You Note From A Client
There are so many people to thank for their help with First Stop. First, I would like to thank all the volun-
teers who go out of their way volunteering time and effort for all of us. Many of them go without seeing or
knowing who we are. From all the congregations and organizations to individuals - all of you are greatly
appreciated. The volunteers help ease our struggles with homelessness.
The staff at First Stop are the finest ladies for having to deal with our craziness every day. Trying to get us
where we need to go, when we need to be there—whether it’s mental health, the Social Security office, DHR
or others. They deal with our joy and our struggles constantly.
The outreach people who bring supplies to the camps every week - God bless their hearts—how many times
have they had to tell us “sorry we still don’t have any of those”. oh, but what they do bring!!! Sometimes
we don’t show them how much we appreciate them, but we do.
Please extend another thank you to the Community Free Clinic and all the doctors, nurse practitioners, vol-
unteers and staff. Everyone there has always been pleasant and helpful.
I would especially like to thank those that provided Huntsville Hospital’s Community Health Initiative grant.
They gave funds to help us with dental and eye care. Most of us would never have been able to get the help
necessary to have a better quality of life. Many received eye exams and glasses, and for others, a lot of den-
tal work. Quite a few had abscessed teeth that needed pulling for years—causing constant pain. Dr. Frank
Barnett and Dr. George Waites and their staffs were very professional and friendly. Never letting us feel as
though we were “homeless” or “less than”. Dr. Kristin Sullins and her staff at Eyecare Associated were also
very courteous. That dignity alone is greater than can be expressed.
There are so many others that there is not enough room to name them all, but if you see them, would you
please extend our gratitude and let them know we appreciate each an every one of them.
~ Nicholette Murray ~
Another Client Sends A Big “Thank You”
Over recent weeks it’s been my desire to show my heart felt appreciation to the people who make “First
Stop” what it is to the homeless people in Huntsville. After filling out an application and an interview with
one of the case workers, the applicant, according to availability, becomes a client. Upon becoming a client a
case manager goes to work on their needs—health issues, ID cards, week days clients can wash one load of
clothes per week, each week day some kind of breakfast, lunch is provided. There are camp sites in a num-
ber of places in the city that First Stop oversees. They provide supplies, food and water, toiletries, hygiene
items, blankets, sleeping bags, and an important items is tents. Tents wear out over time because of
weather or vandalism by outsiders who think it’s neat to be destructive and harass the homeless. Hats,
gloves, water resistant ponchos, rain coats (because one still has to come out of their tent some times and if
it’s raining and they get wet, they can get sick in the winter.
Week days the clients can hang out, watch TV, visit, and talk to their case worker. The case managers will
provide bus passes for appointments and if necessary will personally take the clients to appointments at the
doctors office or hospital. They will also provide temporary lodging when you are getting out of the hospital
so a person won’t have to live outside when they are healing.
Health issues are a big thing because the homeless can’t afford it themselves. Even those who are able to
work, and do are usually subject to bottom pay scale jobs, so the ones who do work usually are not able to
maintain a place to live, out of their own personal monies, for long.
Thank you to everyone of you for everything you have done or will do.
~ Gary Miller ~
This Article is from a Collection of Stories that
Dr. Bill Goodson is Compiling into a Book that He Hopes to Publish
I laughed out loud when Lynn made the suggestion. “You want them to WHAT?” Unperturbed, she
answered: “I wonder they would . . . recycle their plastic bottles.” I could tell she was serious. I had known
her for a couple of years since she joined our Tuesday outreach team. It didn’t take long to peg her as a
liberal, idealistic type who was out to paint our city Green and who also had a heart as big as her native
New York State. Her sunny disposition was undergirded by eternal optimism when it came to human
Not a bad start, you might say, for working with the homeless. But really, now — recycling plastic? When
there was no payoff? They were diligent about loading garbage bags with beer cans to redeem for a few
pennies a pound at the nearby scrap metal establishment. However, there were no bucks for bottles.
Besides, some of them explained, they liked to stockpile them to use as fire-starters. The thought of that
sent shivers up Lynn’s spine as she contemplated the specter of poisonous molecules hovering like a
shroud over our fair city.
I dismissed the idea out of hand. Wasted breath, I thought, suggesting something like that to our clientele.
Except that the notion kept popping up in my head over the next week, so I decided to support Lynn’s idea.
We sent up a trial balloon with residents of three camps, picking them based on our combined judgment as
to the likelihood of success. Actually, a coin toss would have sufficed. None of the camps with multiple
occupants could boast an exemplary record for tidiness. To paraphrase scripture, “Where two or three are
gathered, there is a mess.”
We parked at the dead-end gravel turnaround at the end of Stokes Street. Forms emerged from the woods
like wraiths, making their way to the rear of our van to receive their weekly dole. Lynn posed the question to
Mildred and a few other early arrivers. “We wondered if you would like to join us in a recycling project.”
“What do you mean?” Mildred said, handing a bag of supplies — two meal packs, roll of toilet paper, two
water bottles, can of vegetable soup, 2 D batteries, black garbage bag — to Mark standing beside her.
“We’re talking about the plastic containers — water jugs and bottles, soft drink bottles mainly. We could
pick them up on our visits and take them to be recycled.” I chimed in with, “Yeah, I can put them out with
my blue bin each week.” (Lynn lived outside city limits and hence was not visited by the BFI truck.) Mark
leaned forward. “Doctor Bill, you got three double-A batteries?”
“I think so. Just a minute when we finish with this.”
“Oh, okay. I’m sorry.” He stepped back.
Mildred didn’t hesitate. Without consulting the others, she agreed to do it. Lynn grinned and clapped her
hands together, dancing a little excited happy-jump. “That’s great. We’ll start next week. Okay?” Mildred
nodded and tossed her cigarette on the ground. I dug around and found Mark’s double-A’s. We finished
with the others. Easing away from the parking area, we bathed in the glow of success. “Do you really think
she’ll do it?” I asked.
“We’ll see. Don’t throw cold water on it.”
Sufficiently chided, I agreed.
One other camp seemed interested that day, but Mildred’s was the only one to follow through. Which wasn’t
bad, considering the odds.
Mildred wrenched an agreement from her campmates to sign on to the project. This ensemble of eight to ten
men and women lived in tents under an interstate overpass not far from First Stop and enjoyed a stable
core group who had been together, more or less, for a couple of years. They seemed to get along as a rule
and helped each other when needed. For instance, we could leave a bag of supplies with them to save for an
absent member with reasonable confidence that the bag actually would end up in the hands of that
member. Such was not the case in some camps, human nature being what it is.
(Continued on page 6—Goodson)
Our Sincere Condolences to:
The family and friends of Calvin Parham - he will surely be missed!
(Continued from page 5—Goodson)
Lynn had guessed right that Mildred would champion the campaign. This veteran of the homeless scene
had blossomed with considerable motivation of late in getting her life together. At age fifty, and with the
urging of her caseworker, she was enrolled in GED classes being offered at the Salvation Army offices
nearby. Those classes were held Tuesday mornings, so she often was not present when we made our
rounds. Other times we would run into her as she was hanging around at First Stop, long stringy hair
falling from underneath the ever-present baseball cap, finishing up a load of clothes from the washer/dryer.
She couldn’t have weighed more than eighty-five pounds soaking wet and barely came to my shoulder, but
she could hold her own with the guys. Most of her front teeth were AWOL, but that didn’t discourage the
smile. She sometimes would brandish proudly a spiral notebook and expound on her latest homework.
Life has been an adventure for Mildred. She might not use that word, but it seems fitting to me. A modern
Odyssey. From her home state of Maryland, hitchhiking cross-country, making long-haul trucking stints
with one of her four husbands, she has foraged this land of the free from coast to coast. She rode with The
Pagans, a storied motorcycle gang, and robbed dope dealers. She’s found a warm cot in countless jail cells.
“Sometimes picked up three times a week,” she says with matter-of fact openness.
Steeped in the traditions of living better through chemistry, she worked her way up from a child’s sips of
whiskey at her father’s knee to speed and then heroin addiction that ended only when she couldn’t find a
vein except her jugular.
“That’s when I switched to Red Dog wine. Oh, that stuff is mean!” The DUI’s and disorderly contact arrests
piled up. “I stuck an ice pick in a man once, and I’ve been shot at myself. The bullet changed course before
it reached me. I saw it. God did that. Oh, yes, I believe in God. He’s the only reason I’m alive.”
Enough of old history. Let’s get to the really good part. After a few months of faithful recycling, Lynn
arranged a special event for Mildred. She met with the Director of the city’s Operation Green Team and
explained what was happening in the homeless scene. And what do you know! — the Director soon
announced that Mildred would be receiving the city’s Achievement Award for Environmental Protection. An
awards ceremony was arranged for eleven a.m. one Tuesday morning in February, and it was held at the
camp on Stokes Street. Quite a crowd gathered, including not only her campmates but also we volunteers
and some of the First Stop staff. Then two television news teams and a reporter from the Huntsville Times
Mildred blanketed the news that night and the next day, complete with sparkling photos and videos of her
and the baseball cap. From the TV interview came what I consider to be the quote of the day. “We might be
homeless, but we’re not helpless.” When I next saw her and repeated that priceless comment, she added,
“Or stupid, either.”
In the aftermath of this hullabaloo, we were able to strike a deal with another camp — one of those that had
insisted they needed the jugs to start campfires. Huddling with Lynn, our environmental expert, we
concluded that burning paper products is more eco-friendly than plastics. Thus began our practice of
bringing along a bag of paper and cardboard and swapping it for their week’s worth of plastics. Sometimes
in this business you have to be willing to compromise
So You’re Asking “How Can I Help?”
First Stop is often asked “How can we help?” There are a number of ways that we can use individual and
group assistance, though we do ask that all help be coordinated with the staff first. For example, we now
Outreach Volunteers - 1 to 4 times/month for weekly deliveries to homeless tent camps
Regular Morning Breakfasts - Groups willing to provide a regular morning breakfast for 40 persons
Filing person - Someone able to help with filing paper work
Pickup person(s) for donations - Pickup donations during the annual blanket and clothing drives
Electrical repairs - High light replacement, replace fixtures, install timers on hot water heaters.
Reliable Minivan or SUV - to carry passengers or home furnishings
Roofer - We have some leaks in the roof and need someone to find the leaks and repair them.
General Handy Man
List of needed supplies for First-Aid Miscellaneous
First Stop Clients Band aids (all sizes) Umbrellas, Rain ponchos
(Travel Size are best) Cold medicine (non-alcoholic) Phone cards
Toiletries Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin Folding Chairs
Toilet Paper Neosporin (anti-bacterial cream)
Soap First-aid tape Cold weather ONLY
Razors* Elastic bandages (October - March)
Shaving Cream Sterilizing Alcohol Blankets
Deodorant* Peroxide Insulated Underwear
Combs Bug Spray Toboggans (hats)
Nail clippers Coats
Shampoo/Conditioner Food Stuff
Feminine Hygiene products Coffee Please be sure that all containers
Toothbrushes/Toothpaste Creamer can be opened without a can
Lotion Sugar opener, and be sure to provide a
*always in short supply Sweeteners plastic fork or spoon if it will be
Pancake mix needed.
Basic needs Peanut Butter
Underwear (men’s all sizes) Jelly/Jam Please bring items to First Stop,
Underwear (women’s all sizes) Bread 206 Stokes Street, Huntsville
Socks (men & women) (533-3391).
T-shirts (outerwear) Please call before delivery. Thanks!
Need a Card for a
We have a beautiful card that
was drawn by one of our very
talented clients. This is an
ongoing fund raiser. Call First
Stop (533-3391) for more details
Items that We Other Kitchen Items Needed
Desperately Need Paper products
8 oz. Styrofoam cups
Needed Food Items: 8 oz. plastic cups
Large Canned Meats Paper plates
(ham/tuna/chicken) Styrofoam bowls
Canned Veggies Plastic knives, forks, spoons
Chicken Broth Napkins
Please Keep This Sheet
Spaghetti Paper Towels
Spaghetti Sauce Aluminum foil
This sheet intentionally
Cold Cereal Saran Wrap
does not have anything
Oatmeal Freezer Bags
on the back, so that you
can pull it out of this
NO cold or freezer foods
newsletter and take it
(lack of storage)
with you when you go to
Cleaning Supplies the store. This will remind you what
Pine sol or other type cleaner First Stop needs. We would greatly
Laundry detergent appreciate any of the items on this
Windex If anyone wants to do breakfast
Toilet cleaner A BIG THANK YOU to everyone that
For 40/50 people,
Liquid dish soap has helped with any donations. You
call to arrange a time
Air Freshener are a big part of how we can continue
We serve M-F at 8:30 AM
to help our clients!!!
A BIG THANK YOU TO
Mayor Tommy Battle and the Huntsville City
Council for including First Stop in the City
Budget. The Board of First Stop was very glad
to hear that we were included so that we can
continue to get clients off the streets and into
housing and self sufficiency.
FIRST STOP GRANTS
As noted in a previous newsletter, First Stop received a timely and needed grant from the Venturi Brighter
Day Employee Fund (2009) for the amount of $5,000. The timing of the grant was significant, permitting
continuation of First Stop support operations. It was combined with other approved funding to expand the
First Stop support in order to accommodate a growing set of street homeless clients. For this, First Stop is
However, additional funding is greatly needed. Other known grant sources are being pursued. It should be
noted that First Stop, though still closely related to Interfaith Mission Service. Inc. (IMS), it is now an
independent organization. It meets the following restriction criteria of independence.
It is a fully recognized 501(c)(3) corporation under the Federal guidelines and in good stead. It receives
funding from the City of Huntsville and from a HUD grant, along with periodic donation gifts from various
religious institutions of all denominations and faiths, and from individuals. These donations are accepted
with the understanding of being free gifts, with no strings attached.
First Stop is not represent any:
Athletic teams, booster clubs, or support organizations;
Political and Charity Campaigns;
Religious or political organizations/institutions;
Alumni, fraternal, labor or social organizations;
Ministries, theological or bible schools;
School choirs, bands or drill teams;
Tax supported institutions;
Public or private educational institutions; or
First Stop does not draw on:
Civic organizations or private foundations.
Clients receive extensive services, yet offer back services to assist in day center operations.
If anyone knows of other potential grant sources please contact the First Stop office, at 533-3391, or mail
the information, with points of contact, to First Stop, Inc.; 206 Stokes Street; Huntsville, AL 35805.
Additionally, e-mail contact may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Thank Yous
We try to acknowledge all congregations, businesses, groups, or
individuals that have donated $500 or more in services, items, or
money. Everyone that donates to First Stop is very much appreciated.
Once in a while we miss someone. Please let us know if we miss you,
so that we can correct our error. We need your continued support!
A Big Thanks to St. Thomas
We are pleased to announce that St. Thomas Episcopal
Church, Huntsville has again included First Stop, Inc.
as a recipient of the proceeds from its 16th Annual
Lobsterfest Festival on Saturday, November 14, 2009.
Initiated in 1994, St. Thomas has provided the
Huntsville community a festival day featuring fresh
Maine lobsters, excellent barbeque, and renowned pork
ribs. A bake sale, entertainment, crafts, children’s
games, a book and used furniture sale, and a silent
auction are featured. All profits go toward the Parish’s
world, national and local outreach ministries. This year,
St. Thomas presented to First Stop a much needed
check in the amount of $10,000.00. It was decided that
The Rev. Matt Doss, Jim Spearman (Chairman of 2009 First Stop will again be a recipient of their generosity,
Lobsterfest), Larry Sisterman (Executive Director of First along with Habitat for Humanity and medical missions
Stop, and Jack Stokes (First Stop Board Member and to Honduras and Haiti.
Member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church) They also regularly shared prepared food with our
clients. They have been supportive whenever specific
needs were requested. They are responsible for scheduling the congregational vans that take our clients to
and from the Community Free Clinic, and they participate every month in transporting the clients.
So, a big thanks to St. Thomas, and all of our supportive congregations, for their continued help.
Thank you Venturi
First Stop received a $5,000.00 Venturi Brighter Day Employee
Fund donation. The gift was used to help offset our costs and help
the growing homeless population get housed.
Left: Chris Simpson (right) from Venturi presented a $5000.00 gift to
Larry Sisterman (center), First Stop Executive Director, and Board
Member, Jack Stokes.
I want to contribute to help First Stop
continue moving people out of homelessness into housing
City __________________________________ State ____________ Zip Code __________________
Home Phone _____________________ Cell Phone _______________________________________
Work Phone ______________________ E-mail ___________________________________________
Amount of Donation: $________________
First Stop is an IRS qualified 501 (c)(3). All monetary donations are tax deductible
and should be made payable to First Stop. Non-cash donations are deductible
according to IRS guidelines.
First Stop 206 Stokes Street, Huntsville, AL 35805
Featured Volunteer – Bob Eison
For one who thinks he is retired, Bob probably works harder as our Outreach Coordinator than he has ever
done before. Bob’s volunteer hours include stocking and straightening out (or at least trying) the store
rooms, keeping track of who’s who and who’s where of the folks living in the camps, under the bridges or in
the woods. This is an ever-changing commission, but Bob’s weekly report keeps the First Stop staff fairly well
aware of the comings and goings as well as the physical conditions of our homeless clients and their many
homeless visitors. He is a master of communicating with the folks in the camps and with the many
volunteers who support them from so many sources.
Bob moved to Huntsville in the early ‘60’s, working for the Army, mostly on the Patriot Missile System. They
can’t seem to do without him and he is still called back for consultation after retiring and starting to work
with First Stop about three years ago. Bob’s easy good nature attracts the confidence of the street folks and
they do trust him for it. We at First Stop would be hard pressed without Bob filling this role.
Featured First Stop Board Member - Jack Stokes
Jack is a retired NASA engineer and we could probably say NASA VIP. He has been in Huntsville since the
early ‘60s and has built a reputation as a man with a large heart and a very appreciative network. For the
homeless he has been a stalwart supporter for a number of years and willingly accepted a position on the IMS
First Stop Advisory Board several years ago and continued on with the First Stop Board of Directors when it
was started in January 2008.
Jack has continually provided needed funding when First Stop finances would get low and he has provided
the facility with a new washer and drier and a new stove as we refurbished the building in 2007. Most re-
cently he surprised the staff with a beautiful new Stainless Refrigerator/Freezer that is proving very helpful
the meal planning and preparation efforts.
But Jacks greatest support to First Stop is his work on the Board of Directors where he began the strategic
planning program and then took over grant development and proposal efforts. He has prepared several cor-
porate and foundation proposals that have spread the First Stop message and resulted in significant funds
for First Stop Operations. Jack has used his influence at St. Thomas Episcopal Church to develop a huge
giving community for First Stop, including the designation of a large annual gift from the yearly St. Thomas
Lobsterfest. He is truly Johnnie-on-the spot when the needs of the First Stop appear. Jack’s wife, Becky, is
also very involved in making sure that First Stop continues the mission of helping the homeless. She makes
all the arrangements for the congregations to pick up the clients from First Stop, Downtown Rescue Mission,
and Salvation Army and transport them to the Community Free Clinic. Thank you Jack and Becky!
Featured Staff Member– Kathy Kaufman
Everyone knows our Kathy! She is the first person anyone meets as
they enter First Stop. We have a difficult job giving Kathy a title since,
in reality, she does everything! Laundry, disciplinarian, data entry
person, supply manager, kitchen worker, facility manager - you
name it and Kathy has her hands in it!
Kathy also has the history of being the longest staff member involved
with the homeless program. She started with IMS as Administrative
Assistant in 1996 thru 2000. After a couple of year with Family
Services Center she returned to First Stop in January 2003 when we
were just a shadow to what First Stop has become today. She has
been a key player in caring for our homeless clients like a “mother”.
After growing up in Huntsville, she is well known here, even though she now calls Tennessee her home. She
has developed our use of the Homeless Management Information System to the point where she is almost the
area “expert”. She has gotten many kudos for the accuracy of the First Stop System.
We sincerely appreciate Kathy and all that she has done for First Stop throughout the tough years and the
growing pains. Thank you, Kathy
November 25th at First Stop
Cathy Briggs who owned
Soul Burger at the corner
of Bob Wallace and Triana
and started a tradition, a
number of years ago, of
feeding the homeless and
less fortunate, was able to
continue her tradition.
Cathy is now based on the
second floor or Huntsville
Athletic Club (HAC) in the
Soul Burger Cafe.
With the help of many
friends and people
that came out of the
woodwork, she was
able to serve over
1000 meals at #
First Stop, and HAC. She donated all the unopened cans of
beans, mashed potato mix, spices, and water to First Stop. We
very much appreciate this donation.
On Wednesday, November 25th, Mayor Tommy Battle came out
and helped serve meals at First Stop.....it was great seeing him.
It was also wonderful having Cathy come down to help serve
also, because it was a very busy day for her. Our board
members were very involved in helping this wonderful project, in
addition to lots of congregations and businesses. Thanks to
Please keep First Stop in mind when making your
tax deductible donations.
Since January 1, 2009: Housed 22 Homeless, Took in 49 New Clients, Closed Out 50
Cases, Have 108 Active Cases, and Served a Total of 159 Clients (plus about 40 people
on the streets that are served by Outreach people only).
We are always in need of some good volunteers. If you have the time and the heart, please contact the office
at 533-3391, to get information about becoming a volunteer. All volunteers will fill out some paperwork
and take a mandatory volunteer training class.
• We need some people to do fundraisers for First Stop
• We are always looking for groups to service breakfast any morning, Monday—Friday.
• Do you know a “handy man”? We have some small projects that we need help finishing
• We need help with lighting and electrical problems
• Someone to sort clothing regularly
• Do you know someone who can help get our computers up and running so the clients will be able to
look for jobs on line?
• Would you be interested in talking to our clients and giving them some hope and making a difference in
Please contact our office at 533-3391 and become a volunteer today!
First Stop Speaker Bureau
If your congregation, club, or organization would like to have someone speak about the city homeless
situations and First Stop, please call 533-3391 and we will arrange to have a speaker come to your meeting.
Interfaith Mission Service Non-Profit Organization
701 Andrew Jackson Way U.S. Postage Paid
Huntsville, AL 35801 Permit # 157
Phone (256) 533-3391
Fax: (256) 533-3494
First Stop E-Mail:
Our Web Address: