Co-Mo Electric Cooperative is trying to turn the difficulty of a five-day power outage into some good for a charity that helps feed hungry children.
The cooperative saw more than 17,000 meters out of service during the blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow on Co-Mo country Feb. 25-26. Crews from Co-Mo and 19 other electric utilities spent five days, two hours and 40 minutes bringing everyone back online.
Now the cooperative is selling "I Survived the Rocky Snowpocalypse" T-shirts to raise money for the Buddy Pack program of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.
"We truly did survive this snowstorm as one unified membership," said John Agliata, the cooperative's communications manager and designer of the shirt. " People supported us in such unbelievable ways, from pulling ur trucks out of places they were stuck to bringing us food to just being patient while we worked in some pretty horrible conditions. So we're trying to turn the hardship that is being without power for so long and turn it into a positive to do some good in our community."
The Buddy Pack program gives children who would otherwise go hungry a backpack filled with food on Friday afternoons in school. The kids then return the empty backpacks on Monday to be refilled during the week by area volunteers. About 55,000 students in The Food Bank's service area - including more than 23,000 in the counties served with Co-Mo electricity - qualify for free and reduced-priced school meals and might otherwise go hungry over the weekend and school holidays.
Co-Mo and BW Graphics in Versailles have partnered to sell the quality T-shirt to members. The profit on each shirt will go to the Buddy Pack program. BW Graphics gave Co-Mo a price break so that more money can go to the Food Bank. T-shirts cost $12 for infant/child sizes, $13 for youth and adult sizes up to XL and $15 for 2XL and above. To purchase a shirt, go to www.bwgraphics.com/Buddy_Pack_Fundraiser.html
Eva Seibert, who coordinates the Buddy Pack program in much of Co-Mo service territory, thanked the cooperative for its effort.
"It's great to see the cooperative taking a bad thing like a major snowstorm and turning it into something positive to help feed children," she said.
The breakdown by counties served by Co-Mo with students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch: 1,805 children in Benton County; 3,301 children in Camden County; 5,036 children in Cole County; 1,265 children in Cooper County; 2,872 children in Miller County; 1,102 children in Moniteau County; 1,386 children in Morgan County; 4,080 children in Pettis County; and 2,182 children in Saline County.