Utility’s Care to Share program aids local charities

Kevin Spradlin Richmond County Daily Journal

November 8, 2013

It’s as little as a penny a month, but the contributions of more than 21,000 Pee Dee Electric customers have helped to fill the coffers of Richmond County charities since 2005.

The utility’s “Care to Share” program rounds each customer’s monthly bill up to the nearest whole dollar. The most any monthly bill can be rounded is $0.99. An individual’s contributions is capped at $11.88 per year.

Cathy Page, director of customer service, said that 87 nonprofit organizations in the utility’s seven-county territory have received grants from Pee Dee Electric in the past eight years totaling more than $662,000. The seven counties, listed from the largest number of meters to the smallest, include Richmond, Anson, Scotland, Union, Moore, Montgomery and Stanly.

Grants are awarded quarterly. A total of $44,361.86 has been distributed by Pee Dee Electric to 10 separate Richmond County charities in 2012 and 2013. Those on the receiving end include Area of Richmond Transit, Compassionate Care of Richmond County, Cordova Fire and Rescue, Ellerbe Fire Department, Hamlet Dream Center, Northside Fire Department, Our Daily Bread Christian Food Ministry, Richmond County Partnership for Children, Richmond County Rescue Squad and United Way of Richmond County.

“When the program started, everybody was actually placed in the program,” Page said.

Through outreach efforts, Page said customers were educated about the new Care to Share charge and were informed they had the chance to opt out at any time.

They still have that choice, Page said, but even some people who are struggling see it as a way of giving back, little by little.

“I’ve had so many people say, ‘no, at least I’ve given back,’” Page said.

Monthly contributions are placed in a trust fund managed by Pee Dee Electric’s board of directors.

Only nonprofit organizations are eligible for grants under the program. Individuals cannot apply. Nonprofits that want to apply must submit a letter request the program consider their need.

Board members receive grant applications quarterly. Applications must be submitted by the last day of February, May, August or November for consideration.

For more information, write to: Pee Dee Electric, Care to Share Attention Cathy Page, 575 US Highway 52 South, Wadesboro, NC 28170.