Alabama Power employee Gray Shumate and Oakman High School student Bradley Swann load a bicycle that will be given to a local child on Christmas morning. Daily Mountain Eagle – Jennifer Cohron
A group of Alabama Power employees spent the first part of their Thanksgiving week buying Christmas gifts for more than 200 local children.
The Alabama Power Service Organization’s Gorgas Chapter worked with officials at the Salvation Army of Walker County and Walker County Department of Human Resources to identify children needing assistance and compile their wish lists.
Twelve children from the Sumiton area and 10 children whose families have been affected by recent layoffs in the mining industry will also receive gifts as part of APSO-Gorgas’ inaugural Christmas Angel program.
“Our employees are a part of and dedicated to the communities we serve. The Christmas Angel Program is one of our favorite events of the year. Shopping for children in need is fun and rewarding,” said plant manager Valerie Wade.
Funds for the project came from the annual Gorgas Golf Tournament that was held in the spring. APSO-Gorgas raised $25,000 this year to spend on Christmas gifts.
Alabama Power employees Terri Black and Becky Cannon planned shopping trips to Jasper Walmart on Monday and Tuesday in which APSO members, their spouses and children bought, bagged, labeled and loaded the gifts that will be distributed through the Salvation Army and local DHR.
Christy Roberts and Yolanda Guerra, who work in supply chain management at Alabama Power, described the experience as “enjoyable” and “rewarding.”
“Knowing these gifts will bring a smile to each of their faces makes my heart smile,” Guerra said. “Being a single mom, I know times can get hard, but I am thankful that God has blessed me with a great company to work for that allows me to give back to the community through APSO. I hope all the kids have a Merry Christmas and look forward to more experiences like this.”
Roberts added, “It is a blessing to be able to help.”
Sharrie Bankston, who works in administrative support, was also part of the group of 30 shoppers representing Alabama Power who came out on Monday followed by 25 on Tuesday.
“I felt so blessed, and it brought such joy to my heart to know that I could be a part of a child having a gift to open on Christmas day,” Bankston said. “I’m so thankful I could join my co-workers and daughter in such an amazing, but at times very emotional, experience.”