About the time Matt Smith, Energy Programs Specialist, was pondering how to pay forward $500 as November’s recipient of the LEC employee Pay It Forward program, Billing Supervisor Amy Hughes received a call from a co-worker about a family in need.
“The family, who are Laurens Electric members, had just suffered a job loss, and Santa was the only hope the children had for a Merry Christmas,” said Amy.
When Matt found out about the need, he immediately decided he’d pay forward his $500 to help, and an Angel Tree was born.
The children’s needs and wishes were listed, and Amy put out the call to Co-op employees, offering to help Santa with the shopping and gift wrapping if others wanted to contribute to the effort.
Matt said, “At LEC, we are part of our communities; we live here and go to school and church here right along with the people we serve. We’re neighbors, and helping your neighbor is a core value.”
Donations and offers of help started arriving, and Amy began shopping, and December’s recipient of the employee Pay It Forward program was drawn.
Executive Assistant June King said, “I knew without hesitation that I wanted to Pay it Forward to help my co-workers make Christmas special for this member-family.”
Through this collaboration, Amy was able to purchase toys, clothes, shoes, supplies for a family Christmas movie night and ingredients to bake cookies for Santa. The co-op’s chapter of WIRE (Women Involved in Rural Electrification) provided payment towards the family’s power bill as well.
Thanks to the co-op’s Pay it Forward program, WIRE, and generous co-op employees, this family will have a warm Christmas, a nice dinner, gifts under the tree, and Santa will have all the help he needs to make their holiday merry and bright.
Laurens Electric’s Pay It Forward program began in 2015.
Every Laurens Electric Cooperative employee is entered into a random drawing to receive $500 to pay forward in any way they choose.
Each month a new name is drawn, and the employee then has one month to apply the funds toward their own act of kindness.
This initiative is budget-neutral; the funds come from Laurens Electric’s charity events, which employee volunteers make possible.