Alabama Power volunteers make holidays brighter for those in need

Alabama Power volunteers make holidays brighter for those in need
Three Hots and a Cot is among the charities supported by Alabama Power Service Organization volunteers during this holiday season. (contributed)

Volunteers with the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) have been busy these past few weeks of 2021, fulfilling their longstanding commitment to helping others during the holiday season. With service projects and events across the state, hundreds of APSO volunteers have served as Santa’s helpers, delivering smiles and essentials to people in need.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of APSO, a nonprofit organization comprised of employees of Alabama Power and Alabama-based employees of Southern Company and Southern Nuclear. Last month, APSO volunteers celebrated the milestone by completing 30 service projects throughout the state during the 30 days of November. And through the holidays, APSO volunteers have kept up the momentum of serving others.

“We know the holidays can be a difficult time for many families. Our volunteers want to help this time of year, and they always step up,” said Jacki Lowry, APSO state president.

With nine chapters across the state, APSO volunteers typically devote more than 40,000 hours of service each year to support a wealth of worthy nonprofits and organizations supporting education and literacy, combating hunger, protecting the environment and improving quality of life in communities across Alabama.

Here’s just a sampling of some of the projects and organizations APSO volunteers have supported this holiday season, beginning before Thanksgiving:

Children’s Hospital “Playtime Extravaganza” – APSO volunteers assembled 170 toy boxes and delivered them to Children’s of Alabama hospital in Birmingham. APSO volunteers also sponsored three Christmas trees at the hospital. The volunteers decorated the trees for the annual display, which is a major fundraiser for the hospital.

Red Cross “Holiday for Heroes” – APSO partnered with the American Red Cross, Mid-Alabama Chapter, to collect holiday cards that express appreciation for veterans and military families. The cards were distributed to local Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals, veteran homes, VA Clinics and military installations. Volunteers collected undergarments and outerwear for veterans at the Birmingham VA Medical Center to use this winter.

St. Vincent’s Hospital Christmas stockings – Volunteers sewed Christmas stockings for babies at Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham hospital. For the past 50 years, St. Vincent’s has been distributing homemade Christmas stockings to families of babies born in December as well as babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Salvation Army – APSO members donated toys and coats to support the Birmingham Salvation Army annual Angel Tree program that helps deliver Christmas to children and families in need in the Birmingham area. And APSO members from the Barry Chapter in Mobile County took part in the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama annual Contribution Breakfast, making donations to several nonprofits.

APSO members donated toys and coats to support the Birmingham Salvation Army annual Angel Tree program that helps deliver Christmas to children and families in need in the Birmingham area. (contributed)

Supporting children in Southwest Alabama – APSO volunteers from the Plant Barry chapter provided gifts for 100 children in foster care, sponsored by the Mobile County Department of Human Resources (DHR). Barry APSO members also bought dolls, board games and toys for children at Maryvale Elementary School in Mobile. Volunteers with the Mobile Power Delivery Distribution group shopped for children served by the United Fund of Brewton and East Brewton, and Mobile volunteers also provided fishing poles for children served by North Baldwin White Christmas. Mobile APSO volunteers also bought toys and donated them to WKRG TV’s Magical Christmas Toy Drive, which partnered with the Salvation Army.

Semmes Middle School kitchen – Members of the APSO Barry Chapter delivered new appliances to help upgrade the Semmes Middle School kitchen so it can be used to help children learn life skills.

Dinners on Christmas Eve – Barry Chapter members also were set to continue a tradition of delivering turkey dinners to less fortunate families on Christmas Eve.

Gifts for children – Members of the APSO Gaston Chapter raised money and shopped for Christmas gifts for nearly 200 needy children sponsored through nine organizations, including DHRs in Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega counties.

Food and presents for the holidays – Gaston APSO members also collected food for two months during fall for the Heavenly Smile food pantry in Chelsea. And members of the APSO Eastern Chapter shopped and delivered canned goods to fill the pantry at Community Enabler Developer Inc. in Anniston. Eastern APSO volunteers also worked at Mount Zion Baptist Church and Batter Up Bistro to package meals for SAFE Family Services Center, delivering the food to people’s homes. The chapter also donated and bought gifts for children served through St. Clair County DHR.

Clothes and meals for those in need – APSO volunteers with the Southern Chapter assisted ACTS, the Association of Christians in Tallassee for Services, providing food and clothing for families in need at Christmas. Southern APSO also supported the BigHouse Foundation, shopping for and donating toys for foster-care children and families. Mobile APSO members delivered ham and turkey in time for Thanksgiving to several Mobile nonprofits, including Camille Place, Penelope House and Wilmer Hall. A Thanksgiving lunch was provided to Ransom Ministries, which helps people striving to overcome poverty.

Family Service Center – Employees with the Southeast Division Business Office collected toys for children served by the Family Service Center Barbour in Eufaula and its Holiday Sponsorship Program. More than 100 families received toys this year. Volunteers with the Southeast APSO chapter held a toy drive to support the program.

Lowry said as 2021 comes to a close and a new year looms, APSO volunteers are ready to continue the 30-year legacy of service in 2022.

“We know the need doesn’t stop after the holidays. We look forward to a new year of volunteering and community service to help make our communities better,” Lowry said.

Learn more about APSO, Alabama Power volunteerism and the community initiatives of the Alabama Power Foundation at www.powerofgood.com.

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