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Small Change Amounts to a $1 Million Difference

posted Dec 7, 2012, 6:31 AM by Dan Prijatel   [ updated Apr 16, 2013, 1:42 PM by Care Partners ]
December 22, 2011Updated Dec 22, 2011 at 6:34 PM CST

(Northland's NewsCenter)---Small change has amounted to a big difference.

Lake Country Power celebrates a $1 Million milestone with its Operation Round Up Program.

Since 2004, the company has been giving to community based projects and programs throughout northeastern Minnesota.

Tasia Hoag is the coordinator for Care Partners, a small charity that aims to provide financial assistance to Iron Range families facing cancer.

About five more families will receive assistance thanks to a $2,000 grant from Lake Country Power.

"A lot of people use it for travel," Hoag said. "If you live in Ely and you have to go to Duluth five days a week for seven weeks, you can imagine with the cost of fuel these days, it becomes quite expensive."

On average, Lake Country Power distributes $42,000 to 30 organizations every three months.

"There's like 40,000 people on the Lake Country Power grid, and 65 percent of those round up."

Participants in the program round up their electric bill to the nearest dollar.

At most, a co–op member would contribute $12 per year.

"It really makes no difference on your bill, you don't even notice it," Susan Estee, Executive Director of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank in Grand Rapids said. "But when all those cents are added together, it makes a big impact."

The food bank received a $4,000 grant for its Itasca Holiday Program which provides holiday gift and food boxes for individuals in the region experiencing financial hardship.

The average co–op member donates nearly $6 dollars to Operation Round Up each year.