Nearly $1,500 was raised in the first month of the Lewisburg Electric Service program Neighbors Helping Neighbors to assist city power customers with their monthly bills.
That's according to LES General Manager Richard Turner who reported during the utility's Board of Directors meeting on Monday night, one month after the board voted to create the program.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors is like the Volunteer Gas Program at Lewisburg's Gas Department and a similar program at Duck River Electric Membership Corp. in which customers who can afford to pay more do so to help less fortunate ratepayers.
The utility, however, went further.
"We have sent letters to industries because they're the ones with people who've been laid off," Turner said Wednesday, listing donations of: $300 from Nichirin; $500 from Marshall Manufacturing; $200 from London Funeral Home, and; $100 from First Commerce Bank.
A second appeal was mailed to small businesses, banks, funeral homes and convenience stores.
"And an individual wrote a check by rounding out his utility bill," Turner said listing that dollar amount as $104.39 beyond the customer's bill.
In addition to those contributions, $295 were donated by employees of LES, the utility's general manager reported.
With the contributions and the money appropriated by the utility's Board, "We have helped 53 customers with $50 on each of their bills," Turner said.
These steps have been in conjunction with the South Central Human Resources Agency that has offices on Old Columbia Pike.
The agency serves 13 counties and has headquarters in Fayetteville. It's typically referred to by the first two words of its name, South Central.
"A lot of the customers went to South Central and the agency either doubled the $50 or paid off the rest of the bill," Turner said. "If they have been to South Central once, they can get help only once from them.
"Some folks got $50 from us and $25 from one church and $25 from another and South Central doubled the whole bit, Turner said.