Need some hope? Look to your neighbors #inthistogether

Bright Spot

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – You know the facts, but WHNT News 19 wants to reaffirm your faith. A virus is making hundreds of our neighbors in north Alabama sick, but our sense of community is healthier than ever. The bad is bringing out so much good and you don’t have to look very hard to see it.

Educators

We’re all adapting, but the first big change to hit our lives was schools closing. The first big challenge then became feeding children who rely on those schools for daily nutrition.

One in five families lives under the poverty line in Alabama and faces food insecurity. Schools play and essential role in getting regular access to healthy meals for their kids. Suddenly losing that access, when hours are being cut and regular jobs are drying up, hurts. But schools and non-profits across north Alabama answered the call for help almost immediately.

Madison County Schools marshaled its food service workers to prepare meals for students in need. Athens City Schools relied on its lunch pail work ethic, too. In Madison City, a local partnership bolstered the schools’ response. On Sand Mountain, Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies helped to deliver food to students. To the west, the Shoals Dream Center prepared food for Colbert County families in need.

The classrooms may be off limits right now, too, but that hasn’t stopped teachers from interacting with their students. All across the Tennessee Valley, educators are taking to the streets parading their commitment to our children.

It’s not just teachers and students missing one another. Some principals shared their loneliness without students roaming the halls, while others worked to keep them both informed and entertained.

For the older students, this time of year means something different. Proms, finals and, for seniors, graduation. For many, the pomp and circumstance are rescheduled, so one Madison County senior put his talents to use, uplifting his classmates with a special song.

WHNT News 19 wants to take this moment to say thank you to all of the educators, staff, administrators, everyone out there still working to make sure our students are supported. Your love and generosity are evident and will be remembered for years to come!

Food Industry

Is there anything more essentially southern than sharing a meal with a neighbor? Access to some food staples has been an issue for the past few weeks. Many are stocking up on food and goods partially out of anxiety, partially out of the desire to limit trips to the store. Others are making sure everyone has enough.

Morgan County Sheriff’s Office meal delivery. Courtesy: Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Facebook

Morgan County Sheriff’s deputies went door-to-door in Decatur to deliver food to seniors. Domaine South, a Huntsville wine bar, set up a free farmers market for hospitality workers affected by restaurant closures.

Hospitality and retail workers are just a few of those standing on the front lines of this pandemic, so Huntsville business leaders started a campaign to raise money to help them out and show their appreciation.

Other business owners are using their time and talents to show local heroes how much they are appreciated. Smallcakes cupcake shop in Huntsville is helping customers send some sweets to those who work in essential businesses.

In Lacey’s Spring, you’ll find a store owner who’s always looking to served the community. A Morgan County Schools staff member said Pam Turney, owner of Graves Grocery, gave away 90 spaghetti dinners, just to offer a ray of sunshine in this difficult season.

WHNT News 19 wants to say thank you to those often taken for granted in the food industry. Whether you’re a cook, delivery driver, grocery store associate or anything in between, thank you for what you do for our community!

Community

There is perhaps no greater example of community service than the work of Rodney Smith Jr. Recently, the mission behind his non-profit, Raising Men Lawn Care, has grown to include dropping off food and supplies on his mowing trips.

Sometimes it’s the simplest acts that make us feel the most connected. From sharing some groceries to sharing some laughs.

Huntsville’s Shenanigans Comedy Theater is holding drive-thru, family-friendly shows for free. Other cities are hosting drive-thru zoos or bear hunts to help keep children (and adults) entertained while maintaining proper social distance.

Others are calling on their creativity to ensure regular group activities can safely continue. Several dance studios are using technology to hold virtual classes.

WHNT News 19 wants to say thank you to our community, to those staying strong, to those looking out for your neighbors, to those bringing joy into the lives of others. Thank you and keep up the great work!

Health Care Workers

They’re the soldiers on the front lines in this war. And like soldiers, we want them to be as safe as possible while they do something potentially dangerous.

Following a run on personal protective gear, like masks, gloves and gowns, some are sewing backup masks for shortages. A team of 3-D printing hobbyists joined together to print more than 4,000 face shield frames.

Our brewing and distillery community members discovered they had the ability to switch over operations from making spirits to making alcohol pure enough for hand sanitizer.

Alabamians also came out in droves to show their appreciation for all health care workers. Touching tributes filled hospital parking lots all across the Valley, as people flashed vehicle lights, honked horns and prayed.

That’s what this comes down to for many. Togetherness and faith. Faith that a higher power is stronger than a virus.

WHNT News 19 wants to say thank you to the doctors, nurses, PCAs, respiratory therapists, advanced practice providers and all the other hospital and clinic employees who make the system function. Thank you for risking your lives to save ours!

Bright Spot

The stories featured here are just a small slice of all the good all throughout our community. It’s a challenge to thank everyone out there working right now to keep society running, but we see you, we appreciate you and we love you.

We’re also not going to stop looking for these bright spots and we will continue to shine a light on those heroes in our community.

If you see someone going the extra mile, someone who deserves recognition, please take a picture or video and send it to us. We may also be able to send a a crew to cover a great deed. Our goal is to feature these stories daily in a segment called “Bright Spot.” WHNT News 19 wants to reinforce the idea that our community is strong and we will get through this together!

Please send “Bright Spot” stories to news.department@whnt.com or fill out the form below.

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