Local food shelves, schools benefit from mask donations

Electric cooperatives are guided by seven cooperative principles, and among them is a vow to support the overall sustainability of the communities they serve, which extends beyond providing electricity.

“We know the coronavirus impacted millions of people, including some of our employees,” said Therese LaCanne, manager of communications and marketing at Great River Energy. “We’ve sought to support those communities where we work and serve since Great River Energy was formed. We extended that effort in 2020 to help ensure the safety of our communities by donating masks and other supplies.”

Andrew Jordan, superintendent of Wilton Public Schools, (left) received donated masks on behalf of the district from Rachel Retterath, manager of business development and government affairs, of Great River Energy.

Great River Energy donated personal protective equipment (N95 respirators and masks) to health care workers early in the pandemic, and recently continued the trend by donating masks to local food shelves and McLean County schools in North Dakota.

“We have a strong culture of safety,” LaCanne said. “With our recent mask donations, we’ve shared our commitment to community as well as our belief that ‘safety is personal.’”

All McLean County Schools near Coal Creek Station and two food shelves near Great River Energy facilities — Community Aid Elk River (CAER) and Heaven’s Table — received mask donations from the cooperative.

Employees at Coal Creek Station partnered with local schools in January to provide each staff member and student in McLean County with a mask. Great River Energy donated nearly 2,000 masks to all McLean County schools in that effort.

“We understand the burden it places on families to purchase and replace face masks, and we hope our donation helps in a small way,” said John Bauer, director of North Dakota generation.

CAER received 200 masks and Heaven’s Table received 50 masks, which will be available to food shelf visitors to pick up and use in their personal lives.

Great River Energy donated 2,000 N95 respirators, 86 pairs of safety glasses, 200 disposable coveralls and several face shields early last year to the Salvation Army North in Roseville, Minnesota, to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Salvation Army worked with the state to distribute this protective equipment to hospitals and places most impacted by the coronavirus. The donation tallied more than $5,500 worth of inventory.