Angels are among us, in the form of volunteers.
Such is the case at Children’s of Alabama, where more than 50 “elves” from across Greater Birmingham met on Nov. 10, busily running to and fro to decorate Christmas trees on the hospital’s mezzanine and first floor. It’s all for the annual Children’s of Alabama tree display, a major fundraiser that helps the hospital buy equipment.
For volunteers Prissy Daly, Tammy and Jordan Reece, Cindy DeArman, Melissa Springfield, and Laurie and Haley Heath, the effort was a labor of love. The project was courtesy of the Magic City Chapter of the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO).
Young patients, their families, hospital staff and visitors are in awe of Alabama Power’s “Santa Claus Tree,” the “Pop of Color” tree and a tree trimmed with elegant, rust-colored ornaments. Through their work, last year they helped contribute $30,000 to the hospital through bids for trees during the fundraiser.
The team pours their hearts, time and money into the project. Magic City APSO members Daly and Reece, Alabama Power retiree and Corporate Energizer member DeArman and Springfield consider the event the official start of the holidays.
Daly calls the project a chance to share the Christmas spirit. The team invests many hours of work and planning months before they hit the floor at Children’s.
“We shop all year at thrift stores and sales for the best deals,” said Daly, administrative assistant for Environmental Compliance at Alabama Power.
This year’s decorations included gifts bequeathed by a friend of Springfield’s, whose mother had insisted that she wanted her elegant decorations to benefit Children’s. For several years, Springfield worked at Connections, an APSO-sponsored gift shop that benefited charitable endeavors in Birmingham.
Children’s Community Development Coordinator Shelly McCarty said, “At Children’s of Alabama, we get community partners to decorate trees. We are so thankful to Alabama Power for decorating three trees this year. The trees are auctioned off to raise money for the hospital through our Children’s Ball. The trees will stay here until right before Thanksgiving, then be delivered all throughout Birmingham, spreading Christmas cheer.”
Most team members arrived around 9 a.m. Sunday, carrying ornaments and lights. Taking only a lunch break at Children’s Harbor auditorium, the group was absorbed in the task to make the trees as lovely as possible, to bring in high bids for Children’s.
“It’s always a fun time,” said Daly, a longtime Magic City APSO member. “There’s lots of in-house traffic that goes by. It’s a very upbeat, happy and positive time.”
Reece, who is 2019 secretary of Magic City APSO, and her 16-year-old daughter, Jordan, enjoyed the time together. During their three-hour decorating stint, she noticed her daughter’s dance teacher working on trees with another volunteer group. Reece is ensuring that her daughter, also a Magic City APSO member, learns the joy and value of helping the community.
“We got to meet some of the children who came by in the wagons,” said Reece, executive secretary for Environmental Compliance at Alabama Power. “There were extra toys for decorating, and we handed out some of the toys to the kids. It was a lot of fun.”
Daly is thankful for the many volunteer opportunities afforded by APSO and Energizers.
“I’m very, very blessed to do this through APSO,” Daly said. “Our Magic City APSO Chapter does so much for so many groups all year. This really speaks to our hearts.”
(Courtesy Alabama NewsCenter)