GAFFNEY — Combined efforts from Broad River Electric Cooperative members, employees and one of its industrial accounts have provided 3,000 book bags, with school supplies, to students across the upstate of South Carolina.
The backpacks contain a notebook, a pack of paper and an encouraging note from Broad River Electric Cooperative. Additional school supplies were also delivered to elementary students in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union Counties last week.
“There is a need for these backpacks and supplies throughout our area,” explained Barbara Whitney, chair of the Broad River Electric Charities Board and a retired school administrator in Spartanburg County. “We wanted to do what we could to help our children begin their school year equipped, not just with supplies, but with the knowledge that their community supports them.”
The more than $20,000 to purchase the packs came from Broad River Electric’s Operation Round Up® program, in which the cooperative’s members round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. The extra change accumulates into a benevolent fund and is distributed quarterly by the Broad River Electric Charities Board to local charities and causes. This is the third consecutive summer that the fund has provided supplies and necessities to local students.
The spiral bound notebook and a pack of paper inside each bag was donated by the Dollar General Distribution Center in Jonesville. The facility is one of Broad River Electric Cooperative’s industrial members and a strong supporter of local schools.
Additional supplies were donated by churches, organizations and businesses across the Upstate. The Jerusalem Project of Cherokee County collected supplies during their mission week here in July. Others donating supplies included: First Baptist Church of Gaffney, Tabernacle of Love, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Gilliad Baptist Church, Mon Aetna Baptist, Jacksons Grove United Methodist, Hopewell Baptist Church, Rehoboth Baptist Church, Gowdeysville Baptist Church, Betty’s Antiques, Pieces from the Past, and many others.
With cooperative members providing the bags and supplies, Broad River Electric employees, Charities Board members, members of Boy Scout Troop 145, friends and family assembled at Broad River Electric Auditorium in Gaffney on August 10 to stuff the 3,000 backpacks. Since then, Broad River Electric representatives have been hand delivering the bags to the dozens of schools and community centers in the area.
“We exist to serve our members and empower our communities,” said Broad River Electric Member Services Coordinator Josh Crotzer. “We know one of the best ways to do that is to invest in our children and their education.
“We are thankful to the community, Jonesville’s Dollar General Distribution Center, our members and our employees for being a part of this effort. They truly embody the cooperative spirit.”
Broad River Electric Cooperative is a non-profit, member-owned distribution cooperative providing services to more than 20,000 members in Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union and Newberry counties in South Carolina and Cleveland, Polk and Rutherford counties in North Carolina in order to improve the quality of their lives.