COVID-19 has not stopped local charities in their efforts to help their communities and Pee Dee Electric Cooperative (PDEC) has certainly not stopped supporting those organizations in a time of great need.
Help4Kids, which supplies food packs to elementary school students in Florence County, requested volunteers to pack food bags in July. Seeing the call to action on social media, 12 PDEC employees packed approximately 400 snack bags that will be distributed to elementary students in all five Florence County school districts. Even during the pandemic, Help4Kids has helped feed hungry children at home.
Other Pee Dee Electric employees can also be found helping their communities this summer. Sean Stephens, a PDEC lineman of nine years, helped coach the Mullins recreational T-ball team, which is sponsored by Pee Dee Electric. Lex Gandy, a serviceman and employee since 1991, participates in “Touch a Truck” events around the Pee Dee, a program which provides opportunities for children to explore vehicles of all types and interact with their drivers.
Donations from PDEC’s Operation Round Up program have continued to benefit local non-profits during the pandemic. In June, $1,500 was awarded to the Florence Salvation Army. Captain Tim Scott with the Florence Salvation Army explained that since mid-March, they have assisted over 960 individuals, including 1,127 nights of lodging in their shelter and 3,614 hot meals served to the public. “All donations stay local. They’re used for hot meals, clothing, groceries and utilities. They just don’t happen without community support.” explained Scott.
Operation Round Up is funded by PDEC members, who voluntarily round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. The money collected is awarded to individuals having hardships and local charitable organizations in the Pee Dee area for needs such as food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, education and safety. Funds are distributed monthly as determined by the Pee Dee Electric Trust Board, made up of community leaders representing PDEC’s six-county service area.
Harvest Hope Food Bank of the Pee Dee, The Lord Cares of Darlington, and Helping Hands of Dillon received donations totaling $10,000 thanks to the Sharing Success Program from CoBank, a PDEC partner that matches donations made by the cooperative.
“Giving back has always been a priority at PDEC,” said Pee Dee Electric CEO Mike Fuller. “Our communities need us now more than ever and we will continue to try and meet those needs.”