Each month, employees in Coast Electric’s accounting department take a day away from their desks to put on aprons and pick up serving spoons to volunteer at Biloxi’s Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen. The group has been volunteering with the organization for around six years and have seen a dedicated staff work to bring tasty, healthy food to those in need in Biloxi. When they learned a local Winn-Dixie store that was a major source of food for the non-profit organization was closing, they wanted to do even more.
In partnership with CoBank, a national cooperative bank that serves utilities in rural America, Coast Electric can make donations to local organizations through the bank’s Sharing Success program. Sharing Success allows CoBank members like Coast Electric to apply for grants and receive matching funds for local charitable organizations. Employees in the accounting department proposed a matching grant for Loaves and Fishes through Sharing Success and were able to secure $4,000 in funds from CoBank, meaning a total donation of $8,000 for the soup kitchen.
Loaves and Fishes Board Treasurer Bob Learned said the donation ties with the organization’s second-largest donation this year. “Without you and other groups like you, we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open,” said Learned. Learned and Loaves and Fishes Program Coordinator Bryan Morales noted that the organization has had to borrow funds from their rainy-day account for several months of the year but this donation, along with others, means that for the second month in a row, no funds will be taken from that account for operations expenses.
Loaves and Fishes is open four days a week for two meals a day, serving a total of 4,000 meals each month. “I am proud of our employees for volunteering their time to help people in our community,” said Coast Electric Chief Financial Officer John Holston. “They not only take time each month to help; they saw a need and found a way to get more funding for a deserving organization through the Sharing Success program.” Volunteerism is an important part of what keeps Loaves and Fishes running. According to Learned, “Donations like this are the icing on the cake. The time people like your employees spend here each month serving is the cake.”
One of Coast Electric’s operating principles is showing concern for the communities the cooperative serves. Volunteerism is an important part of the culture at the cooperative. To learn more about Coast Electric and its community efforts, visit www.coastepa.com. For information about how you can volunteer at Loaves and Fishes, search for “Loaves and Fishes Biloxi” on Facebook.