Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative employees know that for some kids, summer is a time of hunger and anxiety. When school is out and school meals disappear, grocery costs can put a strain on families who already experience tight budgets. Not enough food in June, July, and August is called SUMMER SLIDE and it means hungry kids are more likely to forget what they learned at school and start the next school year months behind their more affluent peers.

During the month of May, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative employees donated 909 lbs. of food (16lbs./employee) for The Gathering Place, a non-profit agency headquartered in Tolono, Illinois who serves residence in need in the towns of Ivesdale, Pesotum, Philo, Sadorus, Sidney, and Tolono. These towns are in the southern half of the EIEC service territory in Champaign County. 15% of the children in Champaign County experience food insecurity – being without access to enough affordable and nutritious food and many of them live in small towns and rural areas served by Eastern Illini.

On June 19, 2019, EIEC employees loaded up a wide range of contributions spanning the gamut from paper towels to cans of soup to baking supplies and drove them 40 miles to The Gathering Place, so they can be used this summer by those who are experiencing hunger and food insecurity. Graham Schmid, a 15-year employee of EIEC and a line foreman in Pesotum came up with the idea of an employee food drive to support the work of The Gathering Place. Gayle Ford, Administrative Executive Assistant, coordinated the contributions from 56 co-op employees.

Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative is a member-owned business providing electric service to over 13,000 meters in ten counties throughout east central Illinois. EIEC operates and maintains more than 4,500 miles of energized lines. Eastern Illini is member driven and community focused. Follow Eastern Illini on Facebook and visit www.eiec.org for more information.