UNION COUNTY — Of the 3,000 book bags provided by Broad River Electric Charities to elementary students in the Upstate more than 20 percent went to four schools in Union County.
On August 14, Broad River Electric Charities Board Members and Cooperative staff packed the book bags with supplies. They were assisted by volunteers from Buford Street United Methodist Church Youth and Crossroads Rescue Mission. Broad River Electric representatives spent the next two days hand delivering the bags to the dozens of schools and community centers in the area.
More than 40 schools and community centers in Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties received book bags the week prior to the start of the 2018-2019 school year this Monday. The recipients included Foster Park Elementary School which received 100 book bags; Monarch Elementary received 100 book bags; Buffalo Elementary School which received 120 book bags; and Jonesville Elementary/Middle School which received 300 book bags.
“We’re just very appreciative of their support,” JEMS Principal Kathy Taylor said Monday. “Our students will put the book bags to good use.
Taylor said that some of the book bags have already been distributed and that the school will continue to give them out as needs arise.
Buffalo Elementary School Principal Stacy McAbee said the book bags have been turned over to the school’s teachers for distribution on an as-needed basis.
“We have distributed them to classrooms for teachers to give to students who need one,” McAbee said. “This is a great help to our students and parents and we greatly appreciate the donations.”
Foster Park Elementary School Principal Jason Koepke said the school has already distributed all the donated book bags.
“We offered them to our students at registration/Meet the Teacher Day,” Kopeke said. “Parents were able to come through and get them. Every book bag that was donated was given away.”
Monarch Elementary School Principal Mickey Connolly thanked both the BREC and other groups for supporting the school’s efforts to assist needy students.
“We are using them for the student who are in need of having book bags and school supplies for the start of the new school year,” Connolly said. “We’ve also had donations from several local churches and other community organization and we appreciate their support and Broad River’s. It truly does take a community to raise children.”
The distribution of the book bags was announced by the BREC last Thursday in a press release that also announced that one of the recipients of the distribution was the Town of Carlisle which received 70 book bags. The town distributed the book bags to the children of the Carlisle Community this past Saturday during its annual “Back To School Festival.”
Together, the donations to the schools and to Carlisle mean that a total of 690 or more than one-third of the 3,000 book bags distributed by the BREC have been given or will be given to children in Union County.
In announcing the distribution of the book bags, Barbara Whitney, Chair of the Broad River Electric Charities Board and a retired school administrator in Spartanburg County, said “there is a need for these backpacks and other supplies throughout our area. We wanted to help our children begin their school year equipped, not just with supplies, but with the knowledge that their community supports them.”
The funds used to purchase the packs came from the Operation Round Up® program, a Broad River Electric program in which the cooperative’s members round up their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. The extra change accumulates into a benevolent fund that is distributed to local charities and causes. This is the sixth consecutive summer that the fund has provided book bags 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.
Broad River Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BREC) 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.