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Alabama Power’s Southern Division Energizers stand in for Santa, bring cheer to four nonprofits

Children at Adullam House in Wetumpka may have had a white Christmas this year, thanks to a recent donation from Alabama Power’s Southern Division Energizers.

Angie Spackman, director of Adullam House, said the unexpected funds will help make it possible for the children to travel to Gatlinburg for the holidays. Adullam House is a ministry that provides a home and school for children of incarcerated parents.

“In 2020, we plan to make memories for the children in our care,” Spackman said. “Rather than giving gifts this Christmas, we will be taking them on a trip to ‘find snow.’ This generous gift from Southern Division Energizers will enable us to do some fun activities with the children as well as simply taking care of basic needs. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making so much possible for so many kids.”

It’s no surprise that Southern Division Energizers are continuing to help those in need, despite social-distancing restrictions and springtime shelter-in-place rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Southern Division chapter gave $12,000 to four nonprofit organizations to help support their efforts during the holidays. Energizers is a companywide service organization made up of Alabama Power and Southern Company retirees and spouses and includes 11 chapters.

“This year was completely different,” said Southern Division Energizers President Marvin Salter. “We only had one Energizers meeting, and at that time we had no clue about COVID. We also had to cancel our annual spring auction. But we still wanted to support the charities.”

The chapter’s board turned to members for help with donations. The members came through by giving $2,200.

The chapter also added to the pot some of the money from membership dues, along with funds usually earmarked for meeting expenses and a contribution from the state Energizers board.

Thanks to those efforts, Salter and Michael Smith, Southern Division Energizers president-elect, delivered on Dec. 10 $3,000 checks to four organizations – Adullam House, Project Lifesaver-Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Montgomery Area Food Bank and Alabama Sheriff’s Department Youth Ranches.

“It was very gratifying to be able to go and give those charities money,” Salter said. “We try to select charities that are far reaching rather than those that only help a local area. Although we haven’t been able to meet this year, our money is still helping people far beyond our local communities.”

Smith said he and Salter “felt like Santa Claus” as they distributed the checks.

“As an Energizer, handing someone a check and seeing that person’s smile is something that money can’t buy,” Smith said. “I’ve never seen people so excited to get money in my life. They were so thankful. Even though we’re retired, being an Energizer gives us the chance to continue to be good stewards in the community and help these organizations.”

Southern Division Energizers are not the only company retirees who have been making a difference during the pandemic. As of Nov. 1, Alabama Power’s 11 Energizers chapters have donated $79,100 to 56 charities statewide.

Organizations that have benefited include food banks, libraries, humane societies, child advocacy centers, women’s and children’s shelters, Department of Human Resources gift drives for kids and disabled veterans.

“The members knew that in these COVID times, they couldn’t get out and volunteer and raise funds. Yet now is when the nonprofits need the money the most,” said Don Franklin, Alabama Power’s Energizers coordinator.

That’s when the state Energizers board stepped up to lend a hand.

When the organization was forced to cancel its annual leadership workshop, Franklin said the board divided the money budgeted for the event among the chapters. They, in turn, passed the funds to charities in their communities.

“I’m really proud of our members,” Franklin said. “Hundreds of people are being helped because of their generosity. While they can’t volunteer now, the Energizers are trying to do as much as possible. It’s not that they feel they have to do it; they are proud to help their communities.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)