How the ‘wrong’ person’s yes led to successful community ministry

This article is sourced from the Alabama Baptist website. To view the original article, click here.

Sometimes the results of resting produce more than being productive.

Jenny Waltman, CEO/founder and director of the board of Grace Klein Community in Hoover, president of Grace Klein Construction and an author, learned this when she took six weeks out of her busy life to rest at a partner missions base in Africa. She spent the first three weeks “reading multiple books a day and hanging out with Jesus.”

Photo by Tracy Riggs/The Alabama Baptist
Her new book, “God Chose the Wrong Person: Surrendering to His Plan, Not Mine,” flowed from that rest.

“God gave the download, and I wrote the book in three weeks. It was amazing,” Waltman recalled. “My colleague, our director of development, was with me for a portion of the time, and she said it sounded like a symphony as the computer keys made ‘music.’

“As I prayed, each chapter would come to me. God does choose all the wrong people. If you read through the Bible, all the wrong people were chosen by God so He could make them the right people — so He would get the glory.”

Variety of roles

Waltman considers herself one of those “wrong people” for almost every role she’s had in life.

  • She became a fire claims adjuster, a job that required more physical strength than her size and stature suggested.
  • She never felt comfortable around kids but had two.
  • She became a bookkeeper when math was her worst subject.
  • She started a construction company, making her mark in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Then she saw a need to feed hungry people.

As that ministry grew, a friend suggested she file the paperwork to make it a nonprofit. She had no idea how to start or run a nonprofit.

But she knew God did.

In 2021 the ministry rescued more than 1 million pounds of food to provide 150,000-plus food boxes and 885,000-plus meals to the hungry. Grace Klein Community was included on the sustainability team for the World Games, held in Birmingham July 7–17.

“That wouldn’t have ever been on my radar,” Waltman admitted. “I would have said, ‘I couldn’t do that!’ But the ‘yes’ of obedience stacks and so you look back and turn around and realize, ‘Oh, that’s my life!’ All those yeses smushed together into something beautiful because I obeyed God.

“Sometimes if He showed us what was going to happen in 20 years, we would think that we couldn’t do it. But that’s the point. We can’t,” Waltman declared. “All God needs is today’s ‘Yes’ and He will do the rest.”

Encouraging others

“God Chose the Wrong Person” contains biblical principles and how Waltman strives to live them. Candid about her struggles and times she knew she was the “wrong person,” she writes about how God showed His glory through transforming her into the right person.

One of her main goals is to encourage others who feel inadequate.

“It’s okay to feel like the wrong person,” Waltman asserted. “It’s scary and dangerous if you feel like the right person because then you’re doing it in your strength and your capacity and what you can do.

“God’s capacity is so much bigger, so much grander, with so much more adventure — because we only see like a little tiny box of what we think we can accomplish in our finite selves. But He’s infinite, and He can use us to do things we would never believe we could do until we courageously say ‘yes.’”

Conduit for help

By choosing the “wrong person,” God has taken food that would have been thrown away to feed hungry people. He also has taken rescued flowers and fruit to give to those who need encouragement or as an outreach for volunteers to love their neighbors.

He also created an organization that serves as a “conduit,” Waltman said, by helping those with excess to connect with needs, those with specific gifts and talents connect with services, and a means for those who want to feed the hungry.

“Love does. It acts,” she declared. “At Grace Klein Community we see diverse people working together and living an ‘others first’ lifestyle. When hundreds spend their free time rescuing food through FeedBHM, our food rescue initiative, or building food boxes and praying with every person who comes through our drive thru locations, there is no way to not feel love.”

Waltman said writing “God Chose the Wrong Person” wasn’t simply to encourage others — she also has learned from it.

“I am in over my head and way past my own strength or capacity,” she acknowledged. “Every day before I get out of bed, I pray and beg God to give me His strength as I’m an introvert in a world full of people. It’s not about me.

“I’m so thankful that He would allow me to write that book and to hopefully encourage one person or a hundred to find the craziness, the beauty and the ‘hurts so good’ of saying ‘Yes’ to Jesus.”

Meet the Woman Who’s Feeding Birmingham

This article is sourced from the Style Blueprint website. To view the original article, click here.


Since 2009, Jenny Waltman has been on a mission to feed Birmingham. Through the faith-based, non-profit organization, Grace Klein Community, Jenny and her team offer food for the belly and the soul. With the help of partners and volunteers, Grace Klein Community delivers food boxes to families in need. The organization helps provide food at shelters and to other groups supporting those who experience food insecurity.

Through its food rescue program, FeedBHM, Grace Klein Community takes fresh food that restaurants, grocery stores, or catering services would throw away and gives the food to families who need it.

Grace Klein Community feeds more than 44,000 Alabamians each month, which merely scratches the surface of the work Jenny’s organization does. Grace Klein Community has global partnerships, too, such as the group’s work with Kwathu Children’s Home in Livingstone, Zambia. Grace Klein helped teach a group of women in Zambia how to sew purses that they then sold to help support their families and a local school. We are honored to introduce our newest FACE of Birmingham, Jenny Waltman, founder of Grace Klein Community.

Meet our newest FACE of Birmingham, Jenny Waltman. She’s the founder and CEO of Grace Klein Community, an organization working to end food insecurity in Birmingham and beyond.

What inspired you to start Grace Klein Community?

In [The Book of] James, it says if you know the good you ought to do but don’t do it, then it’s a sin from you. We saw the need in our city and knew we had the sin omission. We were doing nothing about it. We prayed and asked God how to help the food insecure in our community. God gave us the idea to create food boxes, and then families in Birmingham could deliver them to people who were hungry around the community.

How does your organization seek to cultivate community?

Before COVID, we delivered food boxes to families all over the city who did not have transportation or were working multiple jobs and couldn’t get to us. Each family that delivered was assigned four to five families. Typically, they connected with at least one or two of the families in a deep, meaningful way — more than just “Here’s your food box.”

People were helping with tutoring, going out to dinner together, meeting at the park to play chess, studying the Bible together … They were becoming friends. Grace Klein Community has always been an amazing way for people to build relationships with each other, and food is just how we’re able to do it.

“Everyone should know what it feels like to hold boxes of good food in your lap, which we usurped from a trip to the landfill, to put on the plates of the food insecure in our community,” Jenny says. If you want to be a food rescue hero, sign up to volunteer with Grace Klein Community’s FeedBHM initiative at

Tell us more about Feed BHM.

After doing the food boxes, we realized that food was being thrown away — good food — at different locations around the city. So in 2013, we started our food rescue program. It is now called FeedBHM. We’re finding good food from produce companies, grocery stores, restaurants, and catered events. [The food is] still good — in the past, it was going to the landfill. Now, instead of filling landfills, we can fill plates.

Our app allows volunteers to help us retrieve all of this good food seven days a week, and the food rescue is handled 100 percent by volunteers. We have a small staff — maybe 14 people. Yet, because people are working together, we’re feeding over 44,000 people in a month.

Last year, we provided food to food insecure families in 40 of the 67 Alabama counties. That’s thanks to our food distribution partners who come and receive food from us.

What’s the meaning of the name Grace Klein?

Grace Klein means “little gift from God.” When you receive a food box with cucumbers, apples, fresh organic meat, bread, and a dairy product, that’s a little gift from God. But the big gift is Jesus, and we would love for people to realize Jesus never leaves you. He’s going to be there when the food is gone.

Grace Klein Community was the first organization honored on the field at Protective Stadium at the first UAB Blazers home game. Jenny was joined on the field by DonDee Osburn, Director of Operations for Grace Klein Community, and Natalie Spronk, Director of Development.

Tell us about the book you wrote.

It’s called God Chose the Wrong Person. I think a lot of us have felt like, God, you chose the wrong person. I’m not the right person for this task. That’s definitely how I felt about Grace Klein Community. I’m just this normal person. Why would You choose me to run this organization? I’m in over my head. Every morning I’m like, OK, God, you’ve got to do it because I can’t do this.

God’s been showing me — and it’s a universal message for all of us — that we can all feel like the wrong person. God chooses the “wrong” people because He wants to make us the right people.

That’s what the book is about. It’s helping people see that if you feel like you’re the wrong person, let God transform you because He’s making you the right person. He’s picked you. He’s chosen you from exactly where you are, and He has such a great plan for your life.

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?

I love to read and learn new things. I enjoy being outdoors, spending time at the lake or hiking with friends, and enjoying God’s creation.

My husband Jason and I love to have adventures, and we love Birmingham. There are so many free date nights in Birmingham. It’s so fun to tell people, “You can go to this art gallery for a night out, or you can go to this park for a festival.” Go to Botanical Gardens or Aldridge Gardens. We love to find all of the hidden secrets of Birmingham. Then we are able to give people ideas.

Just because you don’t have financial resources doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing adventures that await you in our city.

In 2021, Jenny and her husband Jason received the Learning for Life award from Samford University, which honors graduates of the school who exemplify leadership in their communities. Image: Samford University
“Our children, Amelia Grace and Denver, graduated high school in May 2022. We went to serve with Kwathu Children’s Home in Livingstone, Zambia, as their senior trip,” Jenny says. “They have grown up with the children who live in the home and consider them some of their best friends in the world.” Kwathu Children’s Home is one of Grace Klein Community’s global partners.

What are some of your favorite books?

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. It’s fiction, and I usually don’t recommend fiction, but I think everyone should read it. It just is an awakening of “Do we really live what we say we value?”

Ian Cron’s Chasing Francis. It’s a great example of how what we do every day is what makes us shine. It’s not about whether or not we’re heroes. What some people consider the mundane is actually the most beautiful. It’s the little everyday moments of our lives that change the world.

What’s the best advice you have to offer?

Stay behind Jesus and let him receive the glory for your life. He’s got such a big, incredible plan for each of our lives; we can’t even fathom it. We don’t even think that big. So, if we can stay behind him, he will take us to places and adventures we would never have dreamed of.

He’s showing me a concept called “the compounding yes.” If we say “yes” to what he asks us to do today, then that “yes” builds on the next “yes” and the next “yes,” and when we look back, all of those yeses have accumulated to what we get to call our amazing life.

Other than faith, family, and friends, name three things you can’t live without.

Coffee, a good book, and a cozy blanket.

Thank you, Jenny!

Chelsea Council approves proclamations, hears about food ministry

This article is sourced from the Shelby County Reporter website. To view the original article, click here.

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA –The Chelsea City Council approved a proclamation designating July 17 as Mark Lindsay III Day and heard from a representative of Grace Klein Community in Chelsea on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Lindsay was a longtime resident of Chelsea, an active member of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church and he served the city on the planning commission for more than a decade.

“Mark will always be remembered for his selflessness, his sense of humor, his kindness and compassionate nature that inspired and uplifted those around him,” Mayor Tony Picklesimer said, “The city of Chelsea is grateful to Mark for generously committing his time via decades of service to the city planning commission.”

The council approved a second proclamation declaring the month of September to be Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.

“Gynecological cancers are among the leading cancer killers of women in the United States,” Picklesimer said. “We encourage all citizens to work together to raise awareness of these cancers.”

Chelsea City Hall will be illuminated with teal lights for the month of September in honor of Gynecologic Awareness Month.

During the community forum, Lisa Ripp, representing the Grace Klein Community, addressed the council with a detailed explanation of their services to the greater Birmingham community.

“We feed over 10, 000 people a week (in) Birmingham, Shelby County, and 40 surrounding counties,” said Ripp.

The Grace Klein Community is a faith-based food rescue and food distribution ministry.

According to Ripp, 40 percent of the food that’s manufactured is thrown away while it is still good.

“Last year we saved over 1.6 million pounds of food, which was worth over $2 million,” she said.

Grace Klein Community was founded in 2009 by Jenny and Jason Waltman.

“We would like for you guys to get volunteers out and businesses to come and be serve teams,” Ripp said.

The City Council also approved to accept the lowest bid for the ABC warehouse site project and to authorize a lease agreement for a copier at the Chelsea Historical Museum.