Fifteen years ago, a group of Northfork Electric Cooperative employees were discussing the Christmas season and how quickly it was approaching. That discussion led to some in the group voicing their personal feelings about the usual Christmas gift exchanges that take place between friends and co-workers. Several expressed that while they appreciated the thoughtfulness behind the gifts, they felt that the effort could be spent in a more meaningful way.

That simple discussion soon developed into an organization-wide project. When discussed with NFEC’s Board of Trustees, they responded quickly with generous personal donations to the effort. Employees and their families followed suit, not only giving their time and money, but taking the idea for the project to local businesses, other NFEC members, vendors, and contractors. The results of this program have been overwhelmingly successful.

We named our project the “Co-op Family Christmas” and we set out to identify members of our Cooperative that had experienced more than their share of life’s challenges this past year. All of us have been there at some pointing our lives and many of us made it through not just on our own fortitude, but with a timely helping hand from someone who cared for us.

The gifts are made possible by many individuals working together cooperatively for a common goal, much the same as when rural electric cooperatives were formed some 75 years ago. That principle may not be widely familiar in today’s society, but it works well in many real-life situations. In 2018, we helped 17 families. Since the program’s start in 2004, we have helped 435 families.

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.
— John Holmes
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