Walton EMC customer-owners who participate in Operation Round Up allow the electric utility cooperative serving northeast Georgia, including part of the Athens area, to round their monthly electric bills up to the next dollar. The resulting change goes into a fund to help worthy organizations and deserving individuals in Walton EMC’s 10-county service area. Since its inception, Operation Round Up has distributed more than $4.5 million in grants.
Among the most recent Operation Round Up grants was the $8,000 allocated to Marrow Man’s Epic Battle Campaign to support organizations that recruit blood marrow donors.
The Marrow Man character is a creation of the Harris family of Monroe. The Harrises came up with the Marrow Man concept during 20-hour round-trip rides to Cincinnati for treatment of their son Trevor’s Fanconi anemia condition. Their goal was to raise awareness for bone marrow donations and to have a way to explain the disease to Trevor and his classmates.
“We found there’re not a lot of kid-focused materials,” explains DeDe Harris. “Blood disease is very abstract to children. We were trying to find something Trevor could grab hold of and understand.”
Marrow Man’s Epic Battle Campaign includes unconventional methods – comic books, displays and other materials – to reach potential blood marrow donors. One of the campaign’s target groups is college students, who are the prime age to be bone marrow donors.
Other recent grants include:
Extra Special People, based in Watkinsville and serving the entire Walton EMC territory: $5,000 for ESP 360, an afterschool program for children with special needs.
Georgia DECA Foundation, which serves the entire Walton EMC territory: $1,500 for their Friends of Georgia DECA Partnership that identifies future career paths and mentors students.
It Won’t Happen to Me (Athens-Clarke, Barrow, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Morgan, Walton, DeKalb and Newton counties): $2,000 for their program that aims to reduce teen traffic violations and deaths from car crashes.
Judy House Ministry (Athens-Clarke, Oconee, Barrow, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale and Walton counties): $7,500 for a transition residence for homeless men who are incarcerated or under community supervision.
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens (Athens-Clarke, Oconee, Barrow and Walton counties): $5,000 for their Extended Network Program, a shelter for homeless families.
YMCA of Athens (Athens-Clarke, Oconee, Greene and Walton counties): $5,000 to their Youth Scholarship Program for children in afterschool programs.
Prevent Child Abuse Athens (Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties): $2,500 for parent education and support in preventing child abuse.
Chosen for Life Ministries (Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties): $4,000 for the My Name Matters project that provides newly placed foster children with a monogrammed duffle bag, pillowcase and towel.
Oconee County Extension 4-H (Oconee County): $3,500 for Cloverleaf, Junior and Senior Project Achievement.
Loganville Community Ministry Village (Barrow, Gwinnett, Newton and Walton counties): $10,000 for their Professional Scholarship Program that provides mental health services for those in need.
Creative Enterprises (Barrow, Gwinnett, Rockdale and Walton counties): $500 for Jobs for All Who Want One, a program that teaches independence to individuals with disabilities.
Youth Entrepreneurs Georgia (DeKalb, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties): $2,500 for a hands-on, elective high school course and alumni program that promotes character development and business leadership.
Angel House of Georgia (Gwinnett and Rockdale counties): $3,000 to their Angel Fund Program that assists women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Hi Hope Service Center (Barrow and Gwinnett counties): $5,000 for the Communication Everywhere project that assists developmentally disabled adults with communication support.
Wishes 4 Me Foundation (Gwinnett County): $2,500 to remove barriers in Wish 4 Me Foundation homes.
Walton County Helping Hands (Walton County): $4,800 for their Christmas for Children project that provides gifts for the underprivileged.
Additionally, 13 families throughout Walton EMC’s service area also received $46,667 for emergency needs.
Walton EMC serves 126,000 accounts across its 10-county service area between Atlanta and Athens.