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Small change makes a difference with REA's Operation Round Up

Contributed photo Representing some of the organizations receiving Operation Round Up grants in March (front row from left to right): McKenna Blehr, Ashton Hagen and Page Stack, Family Career and Community Leaders of America; June Coziahr, Lowry First Responders; Sharolyn Sievert and her dog Ariel, Central Lakes Search and Rescue; (middle row from left to right): Kathy Viereck, Spruce Hill Foundation; Chris Mitchell, Grant County Humane Society; Pat Anderson, Thorson Memorial Library; Jackie Ramey, Nutr...

Runestone Electric Association's Operation Round Up has distributed more than $447,375 in grants to community-minded groups and organizations throughout the cooperative's service territory since its inception seven years ago.

More than 66 percent of REA members allow their bills to be rounded up an average of 51 cents per month, amounting to $6.39 per participating member for the year.

The following 21 area organizations shared $13,375 in grants from Operation Round Up:

Fire departments/first responders: Lowry First Responders ($1,000), Carlos Fire Department ($500) and Cyrus First Responders ($1,000).

Food shelf: Outreach Food Shelf ($1,000), Stevens County Food Shelf ($1,000), Grant County Emergency Food Shelf ($1,000), Hearts & Hands Food Shelf ($1,000) and Long Prairie Emergency Food Pantry ($500).

Youth: Lakes Area Charter School Prom ($50), Safety Day Camp ($500), Kid's Groundwater Festival ($250), Millerville Summer Rec ($200), District 206 Miltona Science Magnet School ($275), Boy Scouts/Brandon School ($200), Jefferson Senior Graduation Party ($200), Family Career & Leaders of America ($250), Osakis Cub Scouts ($200), Eagle Valley Post Prom ($200), Club 1 Youth Center ($250), Thorson Memorial Library ($250), Minnewaska Area Post Prom ($200), West Central Area Babe Ruth ($250), West Central Area School Post Prom ($200) and Ashby Post Prom ($200).

Community: Nutrition Center of Osakis ($200), Central Lakes Search & Rescue ($250), Grant County Humane Society ($250), Kensington Rune Stone Park ($250), Douglas County Sheriff's Posse ($500), Someplace Safe Grant County ($1,000) and Spruce Hill Foundation ($250).

Participation in Operation Round Up is strictly voluntary. Members that wish to participate, do nothing. Your contribution will be included on your future bills. If members want to opt-out of the program, they merely need to call REA to be removed from the rounding up of their electric bills.

Area organizations are encouraged to apply for Operation Round Up grants. The deadline for the next round of funding is May 14. Application forms are available by calling Runestone Electric at (320) 762-1121 or 1-800-473-1722. Applications can be downloaded from the REA website:

Runestone Electric Association serves more than 13,350 elecgtric service accounts in the rural areas of Douglas, Pope, Grant, Stevens, Otter Tail, Stearns and Todd counties.