Emotions ranging from tears to laughter spanned the two hours that 20 employees of Community Electric Cooperative and Prince George Electric Cooperative devoted last week to a “Ready Bag Packing Party” held to support families whose children are afflicted with cancer.

During the packing party, the cooperatives’ 10-member teams placed toiletry items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, lotion, body wash and a digital thermometer into 50 bags that can help families meet tangible needs during unexpected hospital stays.

The community service event was held as part of the cooperatives’ partnership with the Roc Solid Foundation, a Chesapeake-based nonprofit organization founded in 2009 to build hope for every child and family fighting pediatric cancer. The Foundation partners with children’s hospitals across the United States to distribute Ready Bags containing essential items when children are diagnosed with cancer.

The cooperatives’ alliance will be a months-long endeavor that will feature a variety of “competitive” activities between their respective teams to help the Roc Solid Foundation sustain families under duress. Another event took place in December. Cooperation Among Cooperatives is one of the seven core principles adopted decades ago by the International Co-operative Alliance.

“I have lost the majority of my family members to cancer, so any way that I can give back to help make someone else’s journey have a smile, I’m all in!” says Mitch Simmons, manager of information technology at Community Electric.

“Today happens to mark the eight-year anniversary of my father’s passing. Quite a coincidence, but also a humbling reminder,” PGEC Executive Assistant Debbie Grein says.

“I love how relentless Roc Solid is in giving back and providing hope to families during some of the most horrible moments,” said Jessica Parr, CEC’s manager of communications.

This charitable work exemplifies another of the core values — Concern for Community — that is a bedrock of electric cooperative operations throughout the nation. CEC President and CEO Steven Harmon and PGEC President and CEO Casey Logan participated in the packing party.

Approximately 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States annually.

–Report submitted by Community Electric Cooperative and Prince George Electric Cooperative.