Local Utilities’ Alliance Yields Charitable Donations of Nearly 10,000 Items to Support Families Fighting Pediatric Cancer

Thanks to overwhelming community and employee support, Community Electric Cooperative (CEC) and Prince George Electric Cooperative (PGEC) recently delivered approximately 10,000 donated items to the Chesapeake-based Roc Solid Foundation in support of its charitable work to uplift families battling pediatric cancer.

The donations were made in mid-December as part of a months-long alliance the cooperatives made last year to uphold one of the core principles – concern for community – adopted decades ago by the International Co-operative Alliance. The Roc Solid Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009. The Foundation partners with children’s hospitals across the United States to distribute Ready Bags containing essential items when children are diagnosed with cancer.

Items donated by the cooperatives’ employees and by residents and businesses in the areas they serve included toiletry items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, lotion, body wash and digital thermometers. The items are placed in bags that help families meet tangible needs during unexpected hospital stays. “I am blown away by the volume of support shown by the cooperatives’ member -owners and by our employees,” said Jessica Parr, CEC’s Manager of Communications. “I know from prior events such as food drives and fundraisers for fallen linemen that our employees and neighbors have great compassion for others, and the outpouring of support for the families served by Roc Solid epitomizes their community spirit through and through. ”PGEC’s Vice President for Human Resources, Crystal Johnson-Smith, said employees were “really engaged” in the opportunity to support children and families confronting cancer.

“Our employees wanted to provide relief to families during their difficult time and let them know people care. We are pleased that we are able to give and to partner with Community Electric in support of families served by Roc Solid,” she said.

Approximately 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States annually. The Roc Solid Foundation’s website has details on ways that one can support the organization’s work. The Foundation also builds playsets for families fighting pediatric cancer. Members of the general public can trace the progress of the cooperatives’ Roc Solid assistance at a website page created specifically for this project. The CEC/PGEC alliance has been conducted as a friendly competition between teams from the respective cooperatives. In an additional show of community support, QDaddy’s Pitmaster BBQ of Smithfield had agreed to provide the “winning” teams with free entrees, but QDaddy’s actually went beyond its initial pledge and provided free entrees – 150 total – to all employees of both cooperatives.

"The donation of items from the Community and Prince George Electric Cooperatives was one of the largest of its kind in Roc Solid Ready Bag history," said Eric Newman, founder and chief play officer of Roc Solid Foundation. "We are so thankful for this support, which will help us get many steps closer to serving all kids and families diagnosed with pediatric cancer."

Joy Witten Andrus, who heads catering and marketing for QDaddy’s, said she and her colleagues were happy to show appreciation to the cooperatives’ employees as part of their decade-long relationship with Roc Solid. “We were just getting our start in the BBQ world when Roc Solid hired us to serve their volunteers and supporters. Our mom always said to “look around and see where God is working and join Him there. In the spirit of that good advice, it was our great pleasure to treat our friends at the co-op to a BBQ dinner as a sincere ‘thank you’ for their job well done in support of the Roc Solid Foundation,” Andrus said.

Community Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Windsor, is a not-for-profit memberowned energy provider that serves nearly 12,000 homes, farms and businesses in the counties of Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry, Sussex and the City of Suffolk.

Prince George Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Waverly, is a not-for-profit memberowned energy provider that serves more than 12,000 member-owners in six counties: Dinwiddie, Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry and Sussex.