VECustomers Share Board Directs $35,000 to Tornado Relief
The VECustomers Share Board made a rare decision at their December meeting to direct all donations available for distribution to assist the victims of the tornadoes that hit McMinn and Polk counties in the early morning hours of November 30th.
“Like so many in the area, the VECustomers Share Board wanted to pitch in and help those affected by the storm,” said David Murphy, Vice-President Marketing and Economic Development Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC). “We are grateful that many VEC customers elect to participate in the program. Without their generosity, we would not be able to offer this level of assistance.”
VECustomers Share is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization covering VEC’s 17-county service area. The foundation’s funds come from VEC members who have opted to allow VEC to round their electric bills up to the next whole dollar. VECustomers Share contributions average 50 cents per month per customer. The extra change is pooled with that of other members and distributed by the foundation’s board of directors, who all serve as volunteers. Since October 2001 when the program began, these grants have provided more than $5.8 million to local organizations.
Only three times before has the board elected to distribute all available funds for a month to a single cause – once for tornado relief in Cumberland County, once for flood relief in Rhea County, and once in 2011 for tornado relief in Bradley, McMinn and Polk counties.
This December $35,000 was available to donate. United Way of McMinn-Meigs received $17,500 to distribute to families in McMinn County. Stephanie Linkous, Executive Director of United Way McMinn and Meigs counties, stated, “One hundred percent of each donation will stay in McMinn County.” She went on to say, “This donation brings our total to over $51,000. We are so grateful for our community and donors like VEC.”
An additional $17,500 was donated to the Polk County Tornado Relief fund. This fund will be distributed to families assessed by the United Way of the Ocoee Region. All donations to the fund will be spent in Polk County helping the families impacted by the storm.
“It is a privilege to help the McMinn and Polk communities,” stated Rody Blevins, President and CEO of VEC. “They are part of the VEC family and we appreciate what these organizations are doing to assist with their recovery.”