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Anchored in Alabama: Stories of Hope – Week Seven

As API enters the seventh 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 Seven

1. Dothan Hibachi Chef Makes Free Meals

When Joe Cook, a private Hibachi chef from Dothan, realized that schools were going to be closed due to the coronavirus and that a lot of kids would be missing out on meals, he decided to help. Cook partnered with a local church and made hibachi and fried rice to give, along with a cookie, to any student who came. Cook worked on his days off and made such an impact that he was featured on CBS This Morning.

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2. Restaurant in Hartselle Feeds Frontline Workers

Pizza Ed is a small restaurant that opened in Hartselle about a year and a half ago. Soon after the pandemic hit, a local walked into the restaurant and wrote them a check. Instead of keeping the money for themselves, the owner decided to pay it forward. The owners reached out to hospitals in Decatur, as well as nursing homes to figure out the best way to provide meals. So far, Pizza Ed has provided almost 500 meals to frontline workers. Pizza Ed is a testament as to how important small businesses can be in providing solutions to some of our greatest challenges.

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3. Church Member Surprises Pastor with Pictures of Attenders on Pews

Struck with a specific form of Zoom-fatigue, the pastor of a church in Florence had gotten tired of looking out into an empty sanctuary. After telling the congregation that the pastor missed seeing their faces, the church’s administrative assistant decided to do something about it. She found photos of the congregation, printed them out, and then taped them to the pews.

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4. Trussville Rotary Club Provides Technology to Students in Need

The Trussville Rotary Daybreak Club has collected and distributed technology for those students now going to school from home who otherwise had little access. The club was able to collect over 30 laptops and give them to students so that they could successfully complete their online classes. The group also worked to collect school supplies and food.

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5. Small Group at Wiregrass Church Donates Over 100 Meals

Members of a small group in Dothan wanted to help the most vulnerable populations that could be impacted by the coronavirus in any way they could, so they got together and personally provided over 100 meals for local families. They made barbecue sandwiches, wearing masks and gloves, and stood outside all afternoon and handed out the food with a smile. This is a great example of church members taking initiative and serving as the body of Christ.

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6. Alabama Peanut Company Delivering Boiled Peanuts

An Alabama staple, boiled peanuts and other simple pleasures have become less of a priority for many during the pandemic. A great example of the adaptability of local small businesses, Alabama Peanut Co. decided that it was not going to stop providing one of the most traditional and comforting foods in Alabama. With no contact pickup and delivery, boiled peanuts are still available in Birmingham and other areas thanks to similar businesses adapting to the coronavirus.

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7. Quilters in Gee’s Bend Make Face Masks for Their Entire Town

Mary Margaret Pettway of Gee’s Bend makes quilts with her friends regularly. When the need for masks became apparent, however, she decided to put her quilting skills to use. Mary, along with her friends and a local foundation, worked together to make facemasks for her entire community. So far, the quilters have made around 500 masks.

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8. Kindergarten Students Surprise Teacher with Parade 

To thank her for continuing the school year in the midst of a pandemic, students of Florence Kindergarten teacher Meredith Nicholson arranged a parade. The students decorated their cars and honked loudly to show their appreciation of her continued work over the weeks.

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9. Girls Create Chalk Art at Scottsboro North Jackson Ambulance Station

Alexis and Sydney Moore, recognizing the importance of EMS workers, decided to take a summertime favorite and brighten up the days of frontline heroes. In front of the garage where the ambulances are parked, the pair chalked phrases like “Thank you,” and “you are amazing” surrounded with happy doodles.

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10. Boat Company in Guntersville Offers Free Rides to Healthcare Workers

Lake and River Fun, a boat company in Guntersville, provided free 40 minute boat rides to healthcare workers to help them decompress and relax after their often extremely-long days. The company made sure to follow all guidelines and social distancing recommendations and is another great example of the community finding creative ways to offer relief in the pandemic.

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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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