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Anchored in Alabama: Stories of Hope – Week Eight

As API enters the eigth 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 Eight

1. Bessemer Doctor Beats Coronavirus 

Dr. Brandon White, who works at UAB Medical West in Bessemer, has been on the frontlines of the defense against the coronavirus since it started. Working 12-hour shifts for seven days a week took a toll. That was made clear recently when White spent the last month in the ICU after contracting the disease. Thankfully, White has made a full recovery and is back on the frontlines continuing to treat people with the virus. White is a great example of human resiliency and a true testament to the human spirit.

Original Story:

2. State’s Two Largest Megachurches Reopening June 21

As the government has started to reopen Alabama’s economy, so have Alabama’s churches. Many have already reopened their doors and others have announced reopening dates. Two of these churches, the two largest churches in the state, in fact, are Church of the Highlands and the Church at Brook Hills. Both churches are creatively adjusting their services to account for physical distancing precautions in an effort to care both for the local body of Christ and the community at large.

Church Updates:
The Church at Brook Hills Update
Church of the Highlands Update

3. Montgomery Physician Invents Hand Sanitizing Wristband

As Alabama continues to open up, physicians and doctors continue to stress proper hygiene and sanitation. One doctor, Dr. Stephen Chandler, created an innovative wristband that can dispense hand sanitizer on the go. The “SaniStrap” allows the wearer to sanitize their hands whether they are at the grocery store, going to work, and everywhere in between. This innovation will allow Alabama to continue to open up and simultaneously protect its citizens.

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4. Alabama Grandma Teaches Cooking Online

In these times of social distancing, one Alabama woman has brought together over a million people online over something we can all get behind: Grandma’s cooking. Brenda Gantt, a grandmother of five and a member of the Bethany Baptist Church, missed having over her fellow church goers every Sunday for a home-cooked meal. To help bring some joy to her community, Brenda made a video showing how to cook her biscuits. Her video has been viewed over a million times and has shown us all that, no matter where we are, we are not far from Grandma’s cooking.

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5. OWA Theme Park Reopening on June 5

The recent addition to the Gulf Coast entertainment scene, OWA, a theme park with roller coasters and fair food, is reopening on June 5th. OWA will follow guidelines from the CDC and other officials on the best way to maintain health and safety. This is an encouraging example of private enterprises finding ways to reopen safely.

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6. Alan Jackson Hosting Drive in Concert in Two Alabama Towns

Country music star Alan Jackson is hosting two drive-in concerts in Alabama this weekend. Jackson’s concerts, which are scheduled in Cullman and Fairhope on June 5th and 6th, respectively, hope to serve as a welcome respite during uncertain times.

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7. Some Summer Camps Reopen with Rules for Social Distancing

After the abrupt closing of local schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, children throughout Alabama were faced with having to continue to stay at home with their parents. To the excitement of parents, however, many summer camps, including some in Calhoun County, are planning to reopen with proper social distancing in place.

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8. Alabama Retail and Restaurants Continuing to Hire Amidst Shut Down and Restrictions

Despite the government-ordered shutdown on non-essential businesses, some retail stores and restaurants have been able to continue to hire through the shutdown. Since the restrictions on businesses have been loosened, many retail stores have been able to rehire furloughed staff as well. This is exciting news for Alabama’s economy and a testament to the importance of small businesses.

Original Story:

9. Community Pools in Dothan Set to Reopen in Time for Summer
Beating the heat is a yearly challenge for Alabamians and combining that with the new issues of social distancing has added an additional strain. Several pools in Dothan, including the water park ‘Water World’  have tried to find a compromise by opening with proper social distancing measures. This has resulted in pools opening with a limited capacity. These measures will allow Alabama families to social distance while still maintaining some normal summer activity.

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10. Child Advocacy Center Gives Out Goody Bags to Children

The Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center has given out 5,000 free goody bags to children grades Pre-K to 6. The goody bags include a card with tips for parents on how to positively parent in stressful times, along with food and entertainment vouchers for future use. Businesses in their community donated their vouchers for the Child Advocacy Center to give out for free. This is a great example of nonprofits and businesses working together to provide solutions to the public on their own.

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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

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