Huntsville is one of 10 cities to receive these funds out of the $1 million national donation to Feeding America’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
Shirley Schofield, executive director of the Food Bank of North Alabama, said she is grateful for the donation on behalf of the 11 counties and network of 250 food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and rehabilitation centers who partner to provide food to those in need.
“This is a tremendous gift for our community,” Schofield said. “This is funding that will go straight into the community and help feed many people and families affected by the current crisis.
“Generally, we are able to convert every $1 into seven meals, so if you do the math on that, it is a lot of food coming into this community thanks to Booz Allen Hamilton, and we are very appreciative of that.”
Her organization has seen a tremendous increase in the need for food since the shutdown ensued.
“Since March 15, we have provided almost a million meals to people in need, and every day, we hear from someone who has never had to seek assistance before,” she said. “They have worked full time but got laid off and they have not yet received their unemployment benefits.”
Another of those programs help families who count on the free lunch and breakfast programs at schools, who are feeling the pressure to accommodate two more meals a day for their children since the school system has moved to online classes from home.
“We have a lot of partnerships that work together to provide meals to all those kids, and we are one of the main suppliers of food for that,” said Schofield.
Huntsville Chamber’s A Smart Place Digital STEM Learning Hub
Booz Allen Hamilton also made a $15,000 donation to the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s digital STEM learning hub A Smart Place, which is being used by students and teachers as part of the remote-learning system. With city and county schools having moved to daily online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the donation is timely to say the least.
Lincoln Hudson, senior vice president of company’s Army business in Huntsville, is on the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce. He said the $15,000 donation to the Chamber’s Smart Place will significantly boost local schools’ laptop loaner program and access to Wi-Fi.
“This goes directly to one of the problems we see due to the unexpected shutdown of the schools,” he said. “I think it was pretty timely and right in line with what is expected of technology companies, and it has helped too with planning for the future to keep education moving forward.”
Local Support for Emergency Response and Front-Line Health Care
Booz Allen made a $1 million donation to the national CDC Foundation and Huntsville’s portion of that money will go directly to support local emergency response priorities such as staffing and helping front line health care workers during this critical time.
Furthermore, in partnership with the independent Booz Allen Foundation, the company has committed at least $10 million in assistance to local communities across the U.S. in the form of cash donations, grants, volunteer hours, pro-bono work, and technology to help military families, veterans, front line healthcare workers and those who are most vulnerable to the virus, including the elderly and homeless.
In addition to the initial funding, Booz Allen Hamilton is also exploring pro-bono, skills-based, and general volunteerism efforts in Huntsville.
COVID-19 Military Support Initiative
With the Army being the preponderance of the 225 people Booz Allen Hamilton employs on Redstone Arsenal, followed by the FBI and to a lesser extent, NASA, Huntsville will also see the impact of more than $1 million in donations to the COVID-19 Military Support Initiative, which supports veterans and military families during this unprecedented time.
The initiative is another slice of the $100 million pie, some of which will be routed to Huntsville to tackle employee health issues, provides an increase in the general benefit for employees, and offers flexibility for support services distributed through charitable donations.
Guaranteed Employment Until July 1
“On top of all of this, the big takeaway is that Booz Allen made the commitment across the whole firm to say, ‘If you’re a Booz Allen employee, you have a guaranteed job all the way until July 1’,” said Hudson. “Over 90 percent of our employees are teleworking so that is a great position to be in because that is not the case everywhere.”
He said it has been great working with Redstone Arsenal because they were so quick to adapt to a teleworking mentality.
“That has been a huge stress relief for employees and their families,” Hudson said. “Not only does it give them the security to pay their bills, but it also helps us to be able to support our customers so business can go forward.”