Pictured (l-r): Astria Colbert, Dawnshundra Stancil, Margaret Caufield (YMCA), James Thomas, Angela Austin, Dennis Anderson, Sharon Berlin and Latrivia Welch. (Courtesy photo)

The Memphis Team of Tennessee Valley Authority had a jam-packed schedule last week as they ventured out on their mission to bring kids impacted by COVID-19 a little joy for Halloween.

Armed with thousands of their newly developed TVA Energy Allies Member (T.E.A.M.) coloring books, protective masks, for elementary-school aged children, a crew dedicated volunteers participated in events with Shelby County Schools and YMCA Mid-South.

“As a mother, it’s always about the kids for me,” said Angela Austin, construction manager for the  Allen Combined Cycle Plant site.  “They are the ones most impacted by the pandemic. So, when the lockdown began, my first thought went to creating something for them that would take their minds off the scary news that they were being bombarded with every day.

“I wanted them to understand that even during dark times like this there is light in the world, and people care about what they experiencing.”

The Memphis TVA “team” donated more than 3,500 T.E.A.M. coloring books and Kids EnergyRights kits to Shelby County Schools for their annual Boo for Books event at the Shelby County Schools Board of Education on Halloween.

Spark (Shana Woods, TVA) and Angela Austin, construction manager for the Allen Fossil Plant. (Courtesy photo)

The poplar character, Spark, from TVA’s EnergyRight Monsters team, stood with other mascots and waved at the caravan of families who picked up Halloween treats sponsored by local partners like TVA.

“The second annual Boo for Books was such a great success,” said Dr. Sunya Payne, director of Family and Community Engagement for SCS.

“We appreciate the participation of our community partners and volunteers and their support for SCS Third Grade Commitment. … Not only did the Kids get to go home and read their new book with family, but, as a special treat, they are introduced to new super heroes that look like them doing great things around the City they are growing up in as well as have fun learning about science and how they can help their families conserve energy around their home.”

Last Thursday (Oct. 29), as the rain and wind picked up, Memphis TVA members also volunteered with Shelby County Schools for the Cares Family Feeding event at schools, staged by School Board members, who hosted mobile food pantry distribution in their districts.

Many of families, who lined up in caravans that wrapped around the distribution sites, have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Sam Caviness of TVA was a volunteer at Raleigh-Egypt Middle School and happy about it. (Courtesy photo)

“I can’t think of a better way to spend my morning,” said Sam Caviness, power utilization engineer for TVA, who volunteered at the Raleigh-Egypt Middle School during the event.

Earlier in the week, the team also had an opportunity to visit with the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South, participating in their Halloween Spooktacular event, which was hosted for children in their virtual learning program.

“My mom was a single mother, who raised two kids,” said Latrivia Welch, community relations program manager for the Allen Plant, “and each year, she always rushed home to get us ready to go trick or treating, except one year when she had to work over. I was devastated until my grandfather showed up and took me for a full night of fun.  Sometimes, we have to stand in the gap.

“These parents are working, and they can’t necessarily, between their schedules and COVID restrictions, provide a Halloween experience. TVA was happy to serve and share to make their day fun and memorable. I know that they made it memorable for me.”