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Anchored in Alabama: Stories of Hope – Week Five

As API enters the fifth week publishing Anchored in Alabama, our team continues to be encouraged by the stories we hear from you and from local media. It is clear that our faith communities and businesses are stepping up to this challenge.

We continue to say ‘Thank You’ for your support of this publication. As always, we hope you find it uplifting.

Anchored in Alabama, Week Five

1. Many Alabama High Schoolers Will Walk in Graduation Ceremonies
While much of the senior experience has been stolen from almost-graduates thanks to the coronavirus shutdown, many Alabama seniors will still get to walk across a stage to receive their diploma. Numerous Alabama school districts, in fact, have adjusted their graduation dates to allow for a more normal ceremony, one that will even allow family members and friends to attend in person. Dr. Jason Barnett, for example, the Superintendent of Dekalb County Schools, tweeted recently that their graduations are scheduled for late July. Other districts, like Hoover City Schools, are hosting graduations at the end of May.

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2. Churches, Nonprofits, and Businesses Team Up for Drive-Thru Food Pickup
The Joint Supply Coalition, a group of churches, nonprofits, and businesses, is hosting drive-thru food pickups across Alabama, feeding thousands of families in the process. In fact, in the last seven weeks, the group served over 48,000 people. The group prays for each family when they drive through to pick up their food and is a great example of a creative way to help meet both urgent physical and spiritual need.

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3. NFL Quarterback and Alabama Native Jameis Winston Gives $25,000 in Free Meals to Birmingham Families
On Friday, former Florida State and Hueytown High School quarterback Jameis Winston was back home in Birmingham to donate $25,000 in free meals to local families. Now a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, Winston hosted his meal giveaway at Brighton Elementary and McAdory High School, both in the West Birmingham area. Winston’s donation is yet another example of individual generosity during this pandemic.

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4. Mercedes-Benz Donates Over Half a Million Dollars For Coronavirus Relief
Mercedes-Benz is donating more than $500,000 to Alabama healthcare agencies and nonprofits. Another example of the private sector stepping up to help those most in need, Mercedes-Benz’s Alabama operations have already delivered 100,000 masks to the Alabama Department of Public Health and donated $100,000 in small grants for families who need help paying for utilities, groceries, and other essentials.

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5. US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville Offering At-Home Learning
Huntsville US Space and Rocket Center has created an online learning database that Alabama’s students can access for free during the pandemic. The resource, which includes dozens of videos on outer space and other topics in science, even has a search tool that will show you appropriate lessons based on a student’s grade and interest area.

US Space and Rocket Center “Science Never Stops” Website:

6. Nurse at St. Vincent’s East Sews Masks for Coworkers
Wanda Roden, a veteran of the nursing field for almost three decades, is spending her time during the pandemic both working in her hospital and, in her free time, sewing masks for others working in the healthcare field as well. Roden is an experienced sewer and has the equipment at home to cut the fabric into wearable masks when she’s not working. Roden’s dedication to her field and her desire to protect those who work with her ought to be applauded and serve as a reminder that everyone has a role to play during this time.

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7. Bill Bradley Services Feeding Local Healthcare Workers
Bill Bradley Services, a Montgomery plumbing, heating, and air company, is providing lunches to area healthcare workers. So far, the company has donated meals to Baptist Health-Prattville and Baptist Health-East, with meals coming to Baptist Health-South and Jackson Hospital later this week. This is a great example of the many small businesses that continue to give back to their communities even when facing economic hardships of their own.

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8. McWane Science Center Hosting Educational “Science Shorts” for Free Online
McWane Science Center, the multi-story hands-on science center in downtown Birmingham, is closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The center, however, is continuing to further its mission of science education through “Science Shorts” on its Facebook page. The videos, which are only a few minutes long each, are yet another example of Alabama’s educational hubs adjusting to the temporary environment of at-home and online learning.

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9. Southern Nuclear Employees Make Face Masks for Healthcare Workers
Employees of Birmingham-headquartered Southern Nuclear, most of whom have no prior experience sowing, are donating their time outside of work to make masks for healthcare workers. Knowing their lack of experience, they’ve partnered with a local nonprofit, Bib & Tucker Sew-Op, to help them make the masks. One of many similar stories, this example shows that initiative, even in those with no experience, can make a difference.

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10. 11-Year Old Author Writing Letters of Hope During Coronavirus
Nia Mya Reese, an 11-year old author from Hoover, is writing letters to first responders and those in senior living facilities unable to see their loved ones in an attempt to provide hope during the crisis. Reese, who is the author of three published books already, says she hopes they “feel encouraged and hopeful.” This is yet another way Alabamians of all ages are stepping up during this crisis.

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Anchored in Alabama is a weekly publication and selected news aggregate of the Alabama Policy Institute that is updated every Wednesday at noon until the COVID-19 crisis is over. If you know of a story that could be highlighted in this publication and would like to submit it for review, please email [email protected].

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