The 2020 hurricane season brought its share of hardships, particularly for residents of the Gulf Coast. In 2020, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives and their employees stepped up to support communities in areas impacted by natural disasters and other unforeseen events, contributing $35,000 through the cooperatives’ Human Connections Fund.
Funds went to assist communities served by fellow electric cooperatives in Tennessee, following severe weather in March, and Louisiana, following Hurricane Laura in August. The Category 4 storm was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the state.
“We’re used to hurricanes, but the damage from southwest to northwest Louisiana was extreme following Hurricane Laura. At least 40 electric co-op employee families were displaced from their homes this hurricane season,” said Jeff Arnold, CEO of the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives. “It was heartwarming to see so many people want to help, and funds we collected went directly to those affected employees to assist them in getting a new start.”
The Human Connection Fund provides employees of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives the opportunity to join together and help sister cooperatives when disaster strikes. In past years, donations have gone to support those affected by storms in North Carolina.
“The Cooperative Principles of ‘Cooperation among Cooperatives’ and ‘Concern for Community’ truly guide electric co-ops’ response in times of need, whether it’s through sending line crews and equipment to assist others in restoration efforts, or pulling together donations like these to help individuals with unexpected costs,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president of association services and COO for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “The generosity shown by co-ops and their employees through their donations is admirable.”