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Boy Scouts, school, get EMC utility grants

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Two local organizations are on the receiving end of financial help from an area utility company.

The Boy Scouts of America's Flint River Council received a check for $2,550 from the Central Georgia EMC for camp scholarships, according to Rodney Christopher, communication specialist for Central Georgia EMC.

ABC Montessori School in McDonough received a check for $1,600 to purchase two laptop computers, two printers, and a router, added Christopher.

"We were extremely grateful to Central Georgia EMC, and the children were excited to learn of their generosity and support of our educational program," said Jewel Smith, ABC Montessori 's assistant director. "It was important that each child understands how Central Georgia EMC has positively impacted our school, and the many students, parents, businesses and surrounding communities that we serve."

The school has approximately 80 students, ages 18 months through 12th-grade, she said. "With the state of the economy, the money came in handy," said Smith. "The board of directors and school administrators have been diligent, yet sometimes challenged, about finding new ways to continue our service to the children and our community, despite the economic downturn."

"ABC Montessori is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and donations have decreased during this downturn. This donation," she said, "is not small, by any means, and will make it possible for our teachers and staff members to have computer stations inside of each classroom and workspace."

The money was part of the Central Georgia EMC Foundation's "Operation Round Up," which donated a total of $10,110 to local organizations, Christopher said. Operation Round Up is a community support program designed to raise funds for charitable and educational needs within the 14 counties Central Georgia EMC serves, said Christy Chewning, a spokesperson for Central Georgia EMC.

Electric customers may choose to participate in the program by rounding up their monthly electric bill to the next dollar, said Chewning. The money raised through the program goes into a special fund administered by the foundation. New members are automatically enrolled in the program, unless they choose not to participate, said Chewning.

"This is a great example of the many worthy organizations within our community that can benefit from the Operation Round Up program," said Randy Dougherty, Central Georgia EMC Foundation chairman, in a written statement. "Of course, none of it would be possible without the generosity of all our participating members who volunteer to have their electric bills rounded up each month."

The other EMC grant recipients were: the Spalding County 4-H program, which received $1,000 for its Youth Leadership Class; Madison-Morgan County Caring Place, Inc., which received $2,500 to re-stock its food pantry; the Jasper County Senior Center, which received $1,500 for a multimedia system, and Jasper County High School, which received $960 for ninth-grade orientation program T-shirts.