A “honey-do” list may have kept him busy for a while, but after several months of the extended pandemic, one retiree found that true satisfaction comes from helping others.
When social distancing began in March, Danny Copeland happily complied. The 65-years-young Alabama Power retiree figured COVID-19 was ample reason to stay home, making repairs and handling tasks he needed to accomplish. But it wasn’t long before Copeland was yearning for interaction with others and a change of scenery.
“The pandemic limits what you can do, and there’s only so much yardwork you can do,” said Copeland, a member of the Corporate Chapter of the Energizers, Alabama Power’s retiree service organization. He joined the Energizers after working nearly 25 years at Alabama Power, from stints in Power Delivery Construction in Western Division to the General Services Complex and Birmingham Division. Copeland retired as a Fleet Services subforeman in January 2008.
To maintain safety, members of the company’s 11 Energizers chapters ceased meeting during the pandemic. Since June, Copeland has been helping with food distribution of items donated by a farmers market.
“I was tired of being at home doing nothing. I talked to a pastor and found out that First Missionary Baptist Church-East Boyles in Tarrant needed help getting food to older folks,” he said. Immediately, Copeland thought the project was a “good volunteer thing to be involved in.”
On Wednesday mornings, Copeland and other volunteers pack the donated food in boxes and begin staging the 20-pound boxes on the sidewalk in front of the church.
By 10 a.m., about 40 to 50 older people begin driving up to the church. Each volunteer wears a mask and keeps a safe distance while loading the food into the back seat or trunk of recipients’ cars.
“It’s a pretty good bit of food for a family to have for a week,” Copeland said. “About 99% of the people who come by are the underserved in the community. It makes me feel good to know I’m helping the cause.”
Copeland plans to help through Thanksgiving, when he will deliver precooked meals to 50 to 75 families. Despite not being a member of the church, he “fits in pretty well” with the group of men, most of whom are former military members in their 60s and 70s.
The other church members told Copeland, “Man, we think you are one of our guys now.”