Since York Electric introduced Operation Round Up in 2000, participating members have contributed $2 million for local charities in York, Chester, Lancaster and Cherokee counties.
By allowing YEC to round up their bills to the next dollar, their average monthly contribution is only about 50 cents. But, multiplied by the power of cooperation, their small change makes a big difference for organizations like the York County Cancer Association, the Clover Area Assistance Center and the Fort Mill Care Center.
A crucial difference
Created in 1959 by the late Judy Bledsoe, the York County Cancer Association currently serves 19 uninsured and underinsured clients—all county residents—with 156 client services. Those include cancer medications, supplies such as ostomy and mastectomy products, nutrition, and transportation costs for doctor and treatment appointments.
The Operation Round Up Trust Board, which administers member donations, granted the association $8,500 for this fiscal year, says Betty Loftin, association president. It came at a crucial time, says her husband, Bob, the non-profit’s treasurer. The association received no United Way support this year due to a fund-raising shortfall.
The Operation Round Up grant will allow the association to serve clients through next June. “We were ecstatic,” Betty says. “When [the co-op] called that morning to tell me, I couldn’t help it, I cried.”
No wonder. Without the association’s help, some cancer-stricken clients often face tough choices, Bob notes: “It can be between paying for food or paying for medications.”
Executive Director Karen van Vierssen says the Clover Area Assistance Center often helps people who have never had to ask for aid. “It’s usually a crisis prevention situation,” she says. “If you are living from paycheck to paycheck, all it takes is one incident—a car breaks down and that’s how you get to work. They have to decide between the repair or a utility bill or food. We are able to reduce the worry and prevent a worse issue.”
Relying mostly on local support such as Operation Round Up’s, the center carefully screens applicants. “We have a real obligation as stewards of the money to make sure it goes where it’s needed,” she says. Proving their situation empowers clients to move toward self-sufficiency, van Vierssen says, “That’s what we’re about: Empowering people to become more self-sufficient and less dependent.”
‘The perks’ of helping
For years, Operation Round Up aid has helped the Fort Mill Care Center provide emergency food, utility assistance, emergency dental care and other services. In 2013, for instance, the center gave $246,452.70 worth of food to 2,831 families.
President Eileen Misek shares thank-you’s from grateful clients who just needed a hand up, not a handout. One wrote, “Success is the fruit of personal effort plus support and encouragement from someone like you.” Said another: “A super hug for all you do all the time to take care of ‘the least of these,’ those who need it most in our community.
The center’s volunteers, who contribute more than 3,000 hours a year, are inspired by messages like these, Misek says: “That’s what you call the perks!”
To enjoy the perks of knowing your small change will make a big difference locally, call (803) 684-4248 to sign up for Operation Round Up.
Operation Round Up FAQ
Exactly what is this Operation Round Up and more importantly will I recoup the amount that was rounded up?
Operation Round Up is a voluntary contribution on your electric bill which adds a few pennies each month. The most you could ever donate in a year would be $12, but most members’ donations are around $6 per year. These pennies are added together from all our participating members, and York Electric’s Trust Board makes grants to non-profit agencies who are serving needs in our community. Since 2000, York Electric’s members have raised approximately $2.3 million, and we now have 62% member participation.
We make it easy. Sign up by calling our member services department at 803-684-4248, and we’ll simply round your electric bill up to the next highest dollar each month. The extra change – an average of only 50 cents a month or $6 a year – is your contribution to the program. If you wish to discontinue your contributions at any time, simply contact YEC.
Contributions to Operation Round Up are tax deductible. In January and February, your utility bill will have a summary of the contributions you made to Operation Round Up during the previous year.
Operation Round Up
Operation Round Up Disposition Statement