Photo by: Steve Babin
Ashley Shelton Davis is a Huntsville native that has served in many roles in the community and her career. From being a teacher and mom of four, to being a catalyst to spur what she terms “viral volunteerism.” Davis currently works as a mortgage loan officer at Supreme Lending.
Davis explained how she got involved in helping feed people in need, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Back in March, I saw many people sharing the same post on Facebook which said that if anyone they knew needed food for their kids to please reach out. I thought about all aspects of [this situation.] I have been on every side it. I grew up in an affluent household, graduated from Randolph and college, and after an unfortunate course of events, I became financially destitute. The church council that I was once a board member on had to pay my utility bill and bring my children and me groceries before I mustered the courage to rebuild my life. I started my career after being a stay at home mom for 10 years by using my degree and teaching high school in Madison County. During my time in education, it was obvious that nutritional issues lead to a mountain of issues, so food has always been a way that I feel is easy to show love.”
After reading the posts on Facebook, Davis said it came full circle for her. Her mother and a group of her friends pack lunches weekly for Lunches of Love, a backpack ministry that provides food to children in Madison County, Madison City, and Limestone County through the nonprofit Mission Firefly. Knowing that they would have trouble sourcing the groceries during this time because of scarcity, Davis created a social media group and asked friends to allow her to use their businesses as collection points. Davis said, “So many people stepped up, and during this time we were able to mobilize enough businesses and people that we helped raise awareness for Lunches of Love. We provided prepackaged food for over 1,200 kids and families from Lincoln Village, Kids to Love and into Section 8 housing.”
This effort led to more efforts, conversations, and revelations. Davis’ friend Chanda Crutcher, director of the Legacy Center, asked her to join in taking sanitizer and masks and COVID-19 awareness to the elderly sheltering in place in government housing. That led to $5 snack packs, which led to grocery bags, which led to a government grant to provide 2,500 boxes of food and milk from the USDA. “Until the grant kicked in, we held weekly food drives at Insanity Complex in Madison where businesses and people brought the food that fed over 400 seniors, their caregivers, and their families every week,” Davis described. “Insanity wasn’t even open or able to generate revenue, but its general manager, Brenda Buschmann, sent her staff to help me feed people just as she had the first week with Lunches of Love.”
Davis says of her involvement, “What I want to convey is how each person can make a difference in their own way and that there is power in one – one thought, one action, one idea. One action on my part can be the catalyst for the action or launching of another action by someone else. One person’s willingness to act can start a chain reaction and lead to ‘viral volunteerism.’”
Davis attributes the resulting blessings to putting thoughts into actions. “I pray that other people react to viral volunteerism. I pray that others notice the needs of others. Be a light, be a spark, be a catalyst. If a single mom of four kids can do it, anyone can!”
To help, visit Mission Firefly, The Legacy Center, Lincoln Village Ministries, Kids to Love or your favorite charity online.