East Central Energy members help keep the heat on for neighbors in need

East Central Energy (ECE) members helped provide emergency heating assistance to seniors and struggling families recently with their donations to the Operation Round Up® (ORU) Trust.

An ORU grant of $12,500 to the Salvation Army’s HeatShare program will help up to 55 households in ECE’s service territory keep the heat on this winter. HeatShare is a program of last resort for those with no alternate source of energy assistance.

ECE established the ORU Trust in 1997 as a convenient, low-cost way for members to donate to local charitable organizations. Members who participate agree to have their monthly electric bill rounded up to the next dollar. An independent board, made up of ECE member volunteers, administers the Trust, meeting quarterly to review grant requests and disburse the funds. The average annual contribution for members who participate is $6; the maximum annual donation through the round-up process is $11.88.

The ORU Trust Board distributed over $28,400, including the HeatShare grant, when it met Jan. 24. Other organizations receiving grants in the winter cycle were:

 Braham Police Department: $2,500 to help purchase video cameras for squad cars.

North Chisago Historical Society, Rush City: $3,083 to help purchase specialized containers for the storage and preservation of historical acquisitions.

Paradise Community Theatre, Mora: $3,000 to help replace the soon-to-be obsolete 35 millimeter projection system with the digital projection equipment needed to show current films.

Community Christian School, Pease: $2,000 to replace the old, unsafe slide on the school playground.

Milaca Community Education: $500 to assist with expenses for the Week of the Young Child, an event focusing on the needs of children and their families in the community.

North Branch Music Boosters: $2,000 to assist with the purchase of new robes for one of the high school choirs.

We R Able, Rush City: $2,870 to purchase supplies needed to offer classes and activities in fitness, health and the arts for adults with disabilities and the public.

ECE members who would like to join their fellow members in supporting the Operation Round Up program can sign up by checking the box at the bottom of their bill or by calling 1-800-254-7944. Community organizations which serve ECE members can contact Julie Johnson, 763-689-8046, if they are interested in applying to the ORU Trust.