Members’ cents make sense for community enhancement

Lister Aman Jr., Jarman Sullivan and Richard Aman accept a check for Operation Round Up funding.

Pictured from Roseboro Middle School are Mary Bryant, Jennifer Gemma-Butler, Alicia Leach, Catina Iverson and Olivia Hall.

In June, the Community Assistance Corporation, or CAC, a not-for-profit foundation established by South River EMC, funded nine different non-profit and educational programs with grants totaling $56,202.16. Projects are funded through the electric cooperative’s Operation Round Up program.

The Cotton and Piney Grove Volunteer Fire Departments each received grants for $5,000; Flat Branch Volunteer Fire Department was given $4,734. The American Heart Association in the Sandhills Region; “SMASH” of Salem United Methodist Church, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina all received $5,000.

“This program continues to be a valuable community building resource for our area,” said Catherine O’Dell, vice president of member services and public relations, South River EMC. “Operation Round Up has demonstrated time and time again that companies that give back, help to build a greater community.”

The educational programs getting grants are: Roseboro Salemburg and Mac Williams Middle Schools for $9,600; and Cape Fear High School for $7,268.16.

Every month, nearly 79 percent of South River EMC members volunteer to round up their bills. The extra change goes toward providing a brighter future for local communities. Operation Round Up is a voluntary program that allows members to round up their energy bill to the next whole dollar. For example, if their bill was $81.75, the bill would be rounded up to $82 and the extra 25¢ would be deposited into the CAC fund. By participating, members can put their nickels and dimes to work and make a difference in their community.

“Operation Round Up is proof that small change adds up to big change,” said O’Dell. “This program enables each member, despite their income, to give a small donation that reaches so many people in such a meaningful manner.”

Grants are given on a quarterly basis. The next round of applications are due August 21 by 5 p.m. and funding decisions will be made in September. Applications can be found at

South River EMC is a locally-owned and operated electric cooperative, which provides electric service to 43,000 homes, farms and businesses in parts of Harnett, Cumberland, Sampson, Johnston and Bladen counties.