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Operation Round Up Celebrates $2 Million In Community Donations

South River EMC’s charitable foundation, the Community Assistance Corporation, or CAC, reached the $2 million milestone with the most recent $23,622 in Operation Round Up grants to Hargrove Elementary, Clement Elementary and Stedman Volunteer Fire Department.

In 2007, South River EMC began providing a means for members to help the community where they live – and it proves that small change changes lives.

“Since the launch of Operation Round Up, we have assisted 139 local organizations with 373 grants totaling $2,003,041,” said VP of Member Services and PR Catherine O’Dell. “This program has been a homerun for the Cooperative and, most importantly, a grand slam for our community.”

Operation Round Up is a voluntary program in which cooperative members’ bills are rounded up to the next dollar. In doing so, members put their nickels and dimes to work for the benefit of our community. CAC manages the funds and an independent board oversees the selection and disbursement of grants.

“Serving on the Operation Round Up board has been a wonderful experience,” said John Wengert, CAC charter board member.  “As board members we get to allocate funds to fire departments so they can replace outdated equipment and maintain their state requirements for serving their areas.

“The board allocates funds to schools for new and exciting technology. Local museums have received grants to preserve our past, lest we forget how life used to be. Operation Round up is the embodiment of a rural cooperative. “

Non-profit organizations can apply for up to $5,000 and educational institutions are eligible for grants up to $10,000. Those receiving funding in March included Hargrove Elementary, a nine-time recipient, which received $7,648 to purchase new books for students.

“Hargrove Elementary’s Media Center has improved drastically over the past few years,” said Media Specialist Lauren Strickland. “We have new and exciting books, as well as 21st Century technology for our students.  We owe much of this success to Operation Round Up. 

“Many of our students do not have access to high-interest literature or advanced technology at home. However, with the help of Operation Round Up, we are able to offer this when our students are at school.”

Additionally this cycle, Clement Elementary, received $10,000 for technology to teach today’s learners. The Stedman Volunteer Fire Department received a grant for $5,974 to purchase new automated external defibrillators, or AEDs.

The Godwin-Falcon Fire Department is a seven-time recipient of Operation Round Up grants.

“The Godwin-Falcon Fire Department has been blessed to have received a number of grants from the Operation Round Up program,” said Chief Wayne Lucas. “These grants have enabled us to continue to provide much needed fire and rescue services to citizens in our area. Items that have been purchased or maintained include; a training manikin to train skills such as CPR and victim treatment of first aid; multi-gas monitors, which allow us to test for various lethal gases; rechargeable batteries for our handheld radios; and hand lights that are often used under adverse conditions.”

South River EMC CAC accepts and reviews applications quarterly. The next due date is May 19. Applications and rules can be found online at Applicants should always download the latest application to ensure you have the most updated requirements.

South River EMC is a locally owned and operated electric cooperative, which provides electric service to 43,000 homes, farms and businesses in parts of Harnett, Cumberland, Sampson, Johnston and Bladen counties.


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