AmeriCorps CEO Michael Smith announces food security initiative and visits AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in Birmingham, Ala.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO, visited Birmingham, Ala., to announce a new food security initiative grant to The University of Alabama at Birmingham, see an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer site in action and hear from AmeriCorps members and alumni on Monday, March 15. 

On Monday, March 14, Smith and Paul C. Erwin, MD, DrPH, Dean of UAB School of Public Health began the day with a tour of Blazer Kitchen, an AmeriCorps VISTA project and UAB initiative that provides healthy food, resources and referrals to UAB employees, students, patients and their families. UAB started its VISTA project in 2014 with five AmeriCorps VISTA positions and has since grown to 90 members including summer associates. Half of the AmeriCorps members serve in Birmingham while the remaining half serve in the Black Belt region of Alabama, an agricultural community.

Later, Smith, joined by Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, celebrated AmeriCorps members in Alabama and announced a new grant award for UAB during a morning event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. 

Smith concluded his day with a tour and roundtable with Serve Alabama at Positive Maturity, one of the first senior organizations established in Jefferson County, Ala. Positive Maturity, an AmeriCorps partner and nonprofit organization, was originally created to assess and meet the needs of the aging population in Birmingham. In 1972 the organization became a United Way partner and a proud sponsor of AmeriCorps programs including RSVP, Senior Companion and Foster Grandparents. 

During the roundtable, Smith, Penny Kokoliris, Positive Maturity executive director and Betty Ruth, National Association of RSVP Directors president, discussed the organizations’ continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the AmeriCorps members who play a vital role in supporting older Americans.

The trip comes during AmeriCorps Week, a celebration of the millions of Americans ages 18 to 75+, who have served with AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors. Right now, there are 250,000 people serving as members or volunteers in over 40,000 locations across all 50 states and territories. To join the celebration, follow AmeriCorps on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation by sharing pictures and stories on Twitter, using #AmeriCorpsWeek.