Gap Meals Provided by Duke

“When hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters strike, the Duke Energy Foundation works closely with organizations such as the American Red Cross to provide relief in Duke Energy communities.” These words from the Duke Energy Foundation webpage demonstrate they mean it. Duke Energy provided $1 million to Hurricane Irma Relief efforts across the state after Hurricane Irma.

Duke Energy not only returned the power to our community in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the company is continuing to aid those whose lives are still affected. In December,  Dorothy Pernu, government and community relations manager for Duke Energy, reached out to Grace Hengesbach of Citrus County Blessings, a children’s feeding program, to see how they can help those facing food insecurity as a result of the Hurricane. “We knew, as a result of the storm, the families participating in our program would experience more hardship than usual and there wouldn’t be a quick fix. It was imperative that additional food made it home with students during the school breaks” said Hengesbach.Duke Energy, Blessings, donation, food, breaks

Beginning the fiscal year in July, Blessings’ had budgeted $20,000 for meals over school breaks. Ultimately, the program spent $34,651.76 to purchase meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break. The $3,000 Duke Energy grant helped the program purchase those meals. “During and after Hurricane Irma, our customers across the state faced economic hardships,” said Dorothy Pernu, government and community relations manager. “We were honored to support our communities and individual families in need through organizations such as Citrus County Blessings.”

“Last year we supplied additional holiday meals to 1,310 students. This year that number rose to 1,494. The number of children participating in the program has risen consistently since the Hurricane. We are now feeding 1,526 children each week. The hardship inflicted by Irma has forced low-income families to seek social services to make ends meet.” Hengesbach continued “Getting the phone call from Ms. Pernu that Duke Energy had disaster relief funds available was significant as we were able to work together to help these families. We are grateful for the generosity of the Duke Energy Foundation.”

Duke Energy not only returned the power to our community in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the company is continuing to aid those whose lives are still affected.