Goods donated to help Oakman residents

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OAKMAN — Residents in Oakman will soon receive much-needed items due to support from an Alabama ministry group.

Jasper native Adam Johnston, a coordinator for the Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice organization, donated a number of items in January to the town of Oakman through the Black Belt Appliance Ministry (a program of Black Belt Citizens). Johnston is a longtime friend of Oakman Mayor Cory Franks, and while donations from the ministry typically go to those in the Black Belt region, Johnston answered the call from Franks to help Oakman citizens struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We had an abundance of items, and we knew that Oakman is a place that also has high rates of poverty and unemployment," Johnston said. "We wanted to make sure that Oakman residents know that Mayor Franks has these relationships and connections."

He added, "This is just one of the ways that I can give back to Walker County."

Household goods, men's and women's clothing, toys and other items were transported to Oakman in January by Johnston and his mother, Rebecca Persons, who leads 4-H activities in Walker County.

Johnston said all of the donated items came from Bayard Rustin Community Center and Thrift Store in Montgomery, which has a close relationship with the Black Belt Appliance Ministry.

According to the Black Belt Citizens website, the appliance ministry serves to "connect privileged and affluent families and churches in urban areas with families in rural communities and in dire need of household items, used furniture, kitchen appliances, clothing, used tools and technology, books, and more."  

Franks said the donated goods will soon be given to community members, and an announcement will be made on the Town of Oakman Facebook page with details about obtaining the items.

"During these times, we know that everyone's status has changed and everyone needs help. Whoever needs help, we just hope they come and get the things that they need," Franks said. "We're going to continue to work with Adam and hopefully be able to continue bringing these necessities to the town for the folks that need it."

Franks continued, "For those that need these items, it will mean a lot. I've been looking for ways to help those that need it at this time, and sometimes it's hard to find those types of resources."

Johnston said while he no longer lives in Walker County, he will continue giving back to those in need within its borders, and he encourages others to do the same. 

"I would love to see young professionals give back to the community. It's our responsibility to the children of Walker County to make sure that we're giving back," he said.

For more information about Black Belt Citizens and its ministry, based in Uniontown, Alabama, visit www.blackbeltcitizens.org.