Operation Round Up Donates $5 Million by Raising 50 Cents at a Time

MONROE, Ga. – Walton Electric Membership Corporation’s (EMC) Operation Round Up has just passed the $5 million milestone in donations that help local groups and families in need.

Even more amazing, this $5 million was raised 50 cents at a time. Participants in Operation Round Up from across the 10 counties served by the electric cooperative – including Athens-Clarke, Barrow, DeKalb, Greene, Gwinnett, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Rockdale and Walton – allow their monthly bills to be rounded up to the next dollar. The resulting change goes to the fund, making the average monthly donation only 50 cents.

Every penny donated goes to those who need it. Walton EMC pays for all administrative costs of the program. Applications for assistance are reviewed by a volunteer board representing all parts of the co-op’s service area.

What CEO Ronnie Lee said at the 1997 annual meeting when he introduced the program still holds true: “Operation Round Up gives Walton EMC members an easy way to work together and help those in need, and it takes hardly any effort.”

By August 1998, the program had raised enough funds to make its first donations. The Gwinnett Help Line, an information exchange that connects people in need with assistance, received $3,000 and a Morgan County family facing catastrophic medical bills received $2,000.

The latest round of grants total $50,026.21 and include:

Adventure Bags (entire service area) – $10,000
Funds will be used for their One Bag at a Time project that provides a book bag containing personal hygiene items to displaced children in foster care.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (entire service area) – $5,000
Money for their community-based mentoring project where at-risk children are matched to adults for mentoring relationships.

Council on Alcohol and Drugs (entire service area) – $1,000
Grant for a suicide prevention and intervention program that distributes educational resources to schools.

Keeping Families Together, Inc. (DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Walton) – $3,000
Donation will fund their Family Fitness Fun Day/Get In Shape Gwinnett project that includes personalized health education activities.

Dream Quest Therapeutic Riding (Gwinnett, Walton) – $10,000
Funds for the organization’s scholarship and horse training project that furnishes therapeutic riding for children and adults with physical and mental challenges.

Walton County Senior Citizens Council (Walton) – $3,702.60
Grant to replace the food freezers at both the Loganville and Social Circle sites.

Walton Youth Project (Walton) – $1,500
Funds for their youth advocacy board’s ongoing community service initiatives.

Oconee Area Resource Council (Oconee) – $5,000
Money will be used in the Oconee Mentor Program to recruit and train child mentoring volunteers.

Three Families – $10,823.61
Assistance for urgent or emergency needs.

Walton EMC is a customer-owned power company that serves 127,000 accounts over its 10-county service area between Atlanta and Athens.

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