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Clanton-based ministry helps the needy

You might know Ralph Bingham as the owner of B&B Auction Co. in Clanton. But these days, he’s spending a lot less time doing business and more time helping the needy.

Bingham is the director of Through the Grace of God Ministries, which sits in the former location of Santaland near the corner of Eighth Street South and Jackson Avenue. With the large mural of Christ on the front, it’s pretty hard to miss.

Any attempt to describe the ministry will likely fall short. They host food drives, clothing drives, gospel music singings, Bible studies, support meetings for drug addicts and more.

On March 12 they will host a benefit singing with Marty Raybon, formerly of Grammy Award-winning country group Shenandoah, along with local talent. All proceeds will go directly into the food ministry.

“There are a lot more needs around here than people realize,” said Randall Edwards, a volunteer at Grace of God.

Edwards, a local gospel singer, admitted he was skeptical at first but soon saw Bingham’s sincere desire to help people in the community.

Grace of God Ministries was established around six years ago and continues to grow. Bingham does most of the cooking himself. Food is served every Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a Bible study led by the Rev. Bill Wood.

Services are held Sunday mornings at 9 and are recorded to air on local radio at 11:30 a.m.

Narcotics Anonymous meets each Sunday from 3-4 p.m., and clothing is available there daily. About four clothing drives are held annually.

Gospel music singings are held each Friday night at 6. These feature primarily local talent and are admission-free.

Future plans include domestic violence prevention classes, counseling services and a new community center.

“We just try to give people structure in their lives because they lack that. They lack any social skills,” Bingham said.

“When you come here and see souls being touched, that’s what it’s all about,” added Edwards.

The March 12 singing will also include songs by Edwards, Steve Roberson and local gospel group Gaining Ground. The singing will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Seating is limited.

For more information, call Through the Grace of God Ministries at 755-8199.