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Alabama Power employees support community during month of service

Alabama Power employees across the state have upped their efforts to support those in need during the ongoing Southern Company Month of Service.

From holding food and school supply drives to showing love for older adults in long-term care facilities, employees are connecting with their communities in a multitude of ways.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the employee volunteer efforts have been conducted virtually, in coordination with Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) chapters across the state.

“We are doing everything we can to help our communities and community partners while staying safe,” said Jacki Lowry, APSO state president.

Throughout May, companies under the Southern Company umbrella have been emphasizing the importance of volunteerism, community engagement and encouraging employees to take part in service projects. APSO chapters this month have focused on projects that help feed the homeless, families and especially school-age children whose access to school breakfasts and lunches is suspended during summer.

Across Alabama Power’s service territory, volunteers have been coordinating with local food banks to collect nonperishable food items, as well as gathering healthy snacks for children’s backpacks.

Literacy is another area of focus for APSO,  with multiple projects supporting children’s reading programs and initiatives that put books in the hands of young people.

Several projects this month are providing support and recognition to health professionals and hospital workers who’ve helped care for and keep Alabamians safe during the pandemic.

Other projects include collecting plush toys or writing notes to older adults living in group facilities or undergoing hospice care, and collecting toiletries for young people undergoing treatment or rehabilitation at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.

“All the groups we’ve reached out to have been so receptive and appreciative,” said Sharon Murril, president of the APSO Mobile Chapter. Each week this month, the Mobile Chapter is concentrating its efforts on a project benefiting a nonprofit supporting needy families, adults or children. The first week, volunteers supported Feeding the Coast in distributing more than 550 boxes of food during a drive-thru event. The following week, volunteers prepared 40 backpacks with healthy snacks to support children in Prichard through Light of the Village, with 40 more backpacks going this week to Housing First for the homeless. The last week of May, another 40 backpacks will support children in Bay Minette through the group Light of the City. Volunteers provided lunch one day to women served by the nonprofit McKemie Place in Mobile.

“We are definitely getting our volunteers and employees engaged,” said Shenita Baker, president of the APSO Magic City Chapter. Among the many gratifying projects supported by employees this month, she said, is collecting new and gently used stuffed animals for hospice and long-term care patients. So far, employees have donated more than 150 toys. Ongoing is a food drive to benefit Community Kitchens.

In the company’s Eastern Division, volunteers and APSO members have been involved in several projects, including collecting and donating supplies to area animal shelters.

“We gave people the option to bring the supplies into the office or to take them directly to their local animal shelter,” said Amanda Young, who is coordinating the project. She said several volunteers have been in contact about participating in the drive while others have shared details and photos. Among them is Nick Jackson, who with his son Wes, 7, delivered supplies to the Animal Adoption Center of Blount County in Cleveland. The Pell City Animal Control Center and animal shelters in east Alabama have benefited from the project.

The Plant Gaston APSO Chapter partnered with nearby Sycamore Elementary School to create a butterfly garden for their students. Volunteers provided flowers and planter boxes, along with hummingbird feeders and food, to prepare the habitat for the butterflies to be released. The chapter also provided watering cans that were the perfect size for little hands to take care of their new flowers.

In the company’s Western Division, volunteers continue to collect groceries for the West Alabama Food Bank, as well as make direct donations to the organization. They’ve provided lunch and a life-size appreciation card, signed by more than 100 employees, to nurses at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. Volunteers provided refreshments for an event honoring Bibb County teachers.

Stevi Reese, who is coordinating the food drive for the Western Division chapter, said the pandemic has significantly increased the need at the West Alabama Food Bank, which serves nine counties across the region and provides food to additional, partner agencies. “This is a great project for our APSO chapter to champion because we want to be a part of efforts to help alleviate hunger and food insecurity in our communities,” Reese said.

Murril said the nonprofit agencies supported by Mobile APSO can always use help from donors and volunteers. But during the pandemic, “they’ve seen an even greater need.”

“Our employees have such a great, giving spirit,” said Marsha Morgan, APSO executive director. “The Southern Month of Service has been a wonderful opportunity to empower all of us to think about our neighbors and our communities and how we can lend a helping hand.”

For more information about APSO, click here.