Rounding Up Electric Bills Means $48k for Local Charities


In November 2017, Wood Country Electric Cooperative began offering members a way to collectively give to local charities through a program called Operation Round Up. Members simply choose to round up their bills each month. That change, never more than 99 cents, is sent to the non-profit Wood County Electric Charitable Foundation (WCECF). All the money raised locally supports local endeavors.

Fast-forward to June 19 when the board handed out over $48,000 in checks to 36 worthy local organizations. The entities that will be receiving checks will include 33 local fire department, The Forever Young Activity Center, The Pilot Club of Quitman and The Texas Ramp Project.

Charities from Wood County Electric Cooperative’s nine county service territory (Camp, Franklin, Hopkins, Smith, Rains, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, and Wood) requested grants from WCECF to help fund worthwhile projects. WCECF has a seven-member board of directors – one from each of WCEC’s Districts, who review and approve the grant requests. 

Wiley Vonner, WCECF board chair and board member, Hawkins region said, “Operation Roundup has given me a sense of excitement to be able to give back to so many organizations that help so many people in our community. This is a true statement to people helping people. Thank you to all the organizations that took the time to apply for the grants and I am encouraged that more will continue to apply.”   

Robin Johnson, board vice chair and board member, Quitman region added, “During the course of the meeting we all felt an assurance that this foundation stands for the right thing – locals giving locally. As a board, we were united on each grant to each of these fine organizations. I’m thrilled to be a part of the good works the program will promote.”

Recipient Organizations:

  • $5,000 — The Texas Ramp Project
  • $7,000 — The Forever Young Activity Center
  • $3,550 — Quitman Pilot Club
  • $1,000 — each of these East Texas Fire Departments
    • Franklin County: South Franklin, Purley, North Franklin, Mt. Vernon
    • Hopkins County: Como, Pickton/Pine Forest, Hopkins Emergency Service Dept.
    • Rains County: Emory
    • Smith County: Lindale, Red Springs, Winona
    • Titus County: Tri Lakes, Mt. Pleasant
    • Upshur County: Big Sandy, Harmony
    • Van Zandt County: Ben Wheeler, Canton, Fruitvale, Grand Saline, Van, Van Zandt Midway
    • Wood County: Alba/Golden, Coke/Pleasant Grove, Pine Mills/Hainesville, Hawkins, Holly Lake, Land’s End, Mineola, Ogburn, Perryville, Quitman, Winnsboro, Yantis.

The Texas Ramp Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Austin with the mission of establishing regional wheelchair ramp-building programs across Texas. These programs provide free wheelchair ramps to elderly and disabled clients in need identified by local health care professionals. Ramps are built without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, age or gender. They are built exclusively with the donated labor of volunteers. Ramps will be built by volunteers from local service clubs and churches, including St. John Catholic Church, Holly Lake Ranch Kiwanis Club and Broad Street Church of Christ. Last year TRP volunteers built 1,624 ramps in 97 Texas counties. Ninety-three of these ramps were built in the nine counties served by Wood County Electric Cooperative. TRP received 169 referrals in these counties. Local volunteers donated over 2,400 hours of labor to ramp construction, valued at over $60,000.

Forever Young Activity Center in Quitman is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization which provides a place for adult fellowship and programs to enrich lives. Senior programs occur every Wednesday and Friday to include group activities, chair yoga, educational programs, entertainment, health screenings, seminars, painting, crafts and many various volunteer opportunities. FYAC is completely sustained by fundraisers and donations.

Quitman Pilot Club is an all-volunteer group that provides education for the prevention of traumatic brain injury and offers services to those suffering from brain related disorders, such as Alzheimer's, Stroke, and Autism. Bicycle Safety, Scholarships, Project LifeSaver and Special Olympics are just a few of those efforts so important to the health, safety and quality of life for our community members.

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