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Small change adds up for youth groups

Runestone Electric Association says it has given $5,400 to youth groups and other local organizations, thanks to customers who allow their electrical bills to be rounded up to the nearest dollar.

The utility says its Operation Round Up has distributed nearly $848,000 in grants throughout its service territory since its inception in 2003. Over 64 percent of the cooperative's members allow their bills to be rounded up, with the average monthly contribution being 50 cents, it said in a news release.

The money went to 14 local groups: Osakis Boys Scouts Troop 426 - $240; Community Preschool - $600; Stevens County Relay for Life - $200; Christian Union Cemetery - $250; United Communities Advocating Non-Violence - $500; Van Loon Cemetery Association - $250; Life Source-Donate Life - $500; Herman Foundation of Minnesota - $500; Douglas County Cemetery Association - $250; Elk Lake Beach - $300; The Village Family Service Center - $500; Hoffman Economic Development Authority - $500; The Shelf (Alexandria Area High School Food Shelf) - $300; and Let's Go Fishing, Pope County Chapter - $500.

Area non-profit groups are encouraged to apply for Operation Round Up grants. The deadline for the next round of funding is November 10. For application forms, call 320-762-1121 or 800-473-1722, or visit

Runestone serves 14,000 rural members in seven counties including Douglas and Pope.