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Northfork Electric Cooperative employees’ Co-op Familly Christmas project has helped more than 430 familes. Courtesy photo


“It is extremely rewarding and inspiring for all of the employees to know they are making a positive difference in the lives of our membership,” Swint says.


Northwestern Electric Cooperative


NWEC offers members the opportunity to give to an “energy tree” for consumers who are struggling to pay their electric bill. The energy tree is located at the co-op’s main lobby. The tree has lightbulbs on it with ac- count numbers of NWEC members who are in need of assistance during the holiday season. Only account numbers are listed, as the names remain anonymous.


Anyone is welcome to come to the lobby and pick out a lightbulb and donate to an account that is hanging from the tree. “Any donation is appreciated no matter how big or small,” Jonna


Hensley, member services and communications coordinator, says. “Last year the winner of a $100 gift card NWEC gave away during its holiday open house asked the money be given to someone on our Energy Tree.”


Western Farmers Electric Cooperative


For more than 30 years, WFEC employees have banded together to collect monetary gifts, clothes and toys for families. Human Resources Coordinator Susie White has organized the event for the past eight years, collaborating with the Caddo County Department of Human Services to identify less fortunate families in the area. Families and individual children remain anonymous as listed in a company-wide email specifying ages, clothing sizes and Christmas gift requests. While some employ- ees personally shop for the families, others designate


Friendly Neighbors


Community Christmas initiatives facilitated by Associated Electric Cooperative in Springfield, Mo. KAMO Power based in Vinita-Okla., is one of Associated’s member-owners.


DECEMBER 2016 9


monetary donations that WFEC staff members use to purchase toys and clothes. In addition to basic needs and gifts, each family receives a basket of non-perishable food items and a Wal-Mart gift card. WFEC employees and friends stay after hours to sort the items and wrap each family’s presents.


“It’s a group effort,” White says. “We have a lot of good people here who are very generous. We know we’re helping local families.” WFEC also hosts an annual ladies luncheon where retirees, current employees and other co-op friends convene for fellowship, tasty holiday dishes and a charitable cause. Different departments take turns hosting the event and selecting an organization to support. Whether it is a money tree, donation jar or collection of blankets, socks and house shoes for a local nursing home, the WFEC ladies enjoy giving to their community. “Coming together to enjoy each others’ company and give to a great cause puts everyone in the holiday spirit,” says Marketing Coordinator Brittany Hicks.


Since 1985, the Christmas Committee at the AEC headquarters in Springfield, Mo., gives to “at risk” student parents and the nursery at Study Alternative Center.


Plant employees at the New Madrid Power Plant in New Madrid, Mo., organize a toy drive through New Madrid County Family Services. Employees identify 50 children from low-income families and purchase gifts.


Thomas Hill Energy Center employees in Clifton Hill, Mo., make monetary and gift donations to service organiza- tions within the plant’s surrounding counties and cities.


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