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CEPA donates to food pantry, others

Several donations have been made to local organizations by Coast Electric Power Association due to the company’s Operation Round Up program.

Thursday, representatives with CEPA went to the Crossroads Food Pantry on Highway 43 North to present the volunteers there with a check for $5,000. That money will be used by the organization to fund food donations to more than 60 households through February of 2020, said Sharon Bonnecarre, Crossroads Food Pantry director.

The pantry provides a box of food items, that range from canned, dried and frozen meats, to less fortunate families in Pearl River County through the help of about 20 rotating volunteers. Bonnecarre said that some of the volunteers also receive assistance from the Food Pantry. Some of the volunteers provide services such as lawn care, fresh eggs and one volunteer recently started a garden that will provide produce.

“It’s a really awesome ministry here,” Bonnecarre said.

CEPA Director of Communications April Lollar said that more than $71,000 was donated to various programs and charities in Pearl River County, Hancock County and Harrison County. In addition to the grant to Crossroads Food Pantry, donations were also made to Manna Ministries ($5,000) and the Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department ($8,000) within Pearl River County. Donations to the following organizations benefit all three counties; Teen Challenge ($5,000), United Service Organization ($8,000), Goodwill Industries of South Mississippi ($5,500), Whisper of Hope Foundation ($4,000) and Wild at Heart Rescue ($3,000).

Lollar said that through the Operation Round Up program, a member of the power company’s bill is rounded up to the next dollar, the proceeds of which are deposited into an account with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Sixty-five percent of the funds in that account are set aside for grants, 25 percent are used for energy assistance programs and the remaining 10 percent is put into an endowment that will be used to start future programs, Lollar said.

Charity or nonprofit organizations can then apply for grant funding via the power company’s website.

Lollar said another round of applications will be accepted starting in May. Organizations can apply each quarter when applications are accepted, but those that win will have to wait until the next calendar year to reapply.

“It’s good that people give a few cents monthly and have it go to programs that impact the local community. That’s a pretty good return on investment,” Lollar said.

Organizations that are interested in applying for the funding can attend an informational seminar on May 2, at 6 p.m. in the headquarters in Hancock County where representatives of the power company will answer questions. The Headquarters is located at 18020 Hwy. 603, Kiln.