Donna Perkins knows the importance of drive-up service. The member services representative often assists Pee Dee Electric Cooperative (PDEC) members through the window of the cooperative’s Darlington office. That service has been especially crucial recently, as the cooperative closed its lobby to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The first Tuesday and Wednesday of May were days off for Perkins, but she was still providing service with a smile. And she wasn’t alone, joining nine of her Pee Dee Electric colleagues to deliver meals to the clients of Senior Citizens Association (SCA) in Florence County as part of their Meals on Wheels program.
However, on these two days, the recipients brought the wheels and the Pee Dee Electric volunteers distributed the meals. SCA set up a car pickup line at their location on Senior Way in Florence. Cars were wrapped around the parking lot before the distribution started at 9 a.m. Recipients pulled up and PDEC employees loaded up backseats and trunks with food boxes. In just two days, 255 individuals received three emergency meal kits that consisted of five meals in each box, totaling 3,825 meals served.
“There are so many in need right now,” said Pee Dee Electric CEO Mike Fuller. “We’re happy to lend a helping hand where we can and I’m proud our employees exhibit the cooperative’s commitment to community, even on their days off.”
Linda Johnson, director of SCA in Florence County was ecstatic when PDEC called to ask if they needed help at this time.
“The need for food has increased among seniors in our community right now,” explained Johnson. “For some, this may be all they get. The SCA depends on volunteers to deliver and distribute meals every week.”
After each car loaded, seniors thanked the volunteers from Pee Dee Electric for their help. One recipient, Mattie Hyman was particularly excited. She had just “rung the bell” at McLeod Health in celebration of her final chemotherapy treatment.
“I knew it was going to be a great day,” said Hyman.