NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS is what the cooperative spirit is all about. We at Palmetto Electric Cooperative know that our members and the communities we serve have been facing unprecedented challenges and financial hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout America, we have seen small businesses close their doors, hard-working individuals lose their jobs and families struggle to pay bills and balance new routines.
At your cooperative, we have been working diligently to not only continue providing safe and reliable electric service during these times, but to also think of additional ways we can help. We began by suspending all disconnects for non-payment and disbursing $3.5 million in retired Capital Credits back to members early, at the end of April 2020.
In early May, we also launched the Give 5 initiative designed to help those living in Hampton, Jasper and southern Beaufort counties who are faced with growing rent, mortgage, food and utility bills as a result of economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Through the Give 5 program, we are asking our members to pledge a voluntary tax-deductible donation of at least $5 to their electric bill for only one month. Members can make this donation by visiting our website, palmetto.coop, or by calling 1-800-922-5551. Palmetto Electric Cooperative and Operation Round Up have agreed to match the amount for every member donation, up to a total match of $50,000 each.
Money raised through Give 5 will be divided equally among four local non-profit agencies, located in our service area: Bluffton Self Help, Beaufort/Jasper Economic Opportunity Commission, Deep Well and United Ministries of Hampton. These agencies are aware of the needs in southern Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties and will distribute the donated funds based on the Give 5 guidelines.
Since the Give 5 program launched in early May, I have seen both our employees and members respond with generous hearts. I appreciate your support of the Give 5 program and ask that if you have not done so already, please consider pledging a donation today. During these difficult times, every donation matters.
I truly believe that we are all in this together and together, we have the power to make a difference.