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December 15, 2020

Pandemic Perseverance

The AEP volunteer spirit is alive and well, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees from across the system applied for and received Making a Difference grants to support local nonprofit organizations in their communities.

The Salvation Army in Corpus Christi, Texas received 95 care packages for men and women served by the organization. The packages include face masks, hand sanitizer and other personal hygiene items. Shown with the completed packages are (left-right) Esmer Reyes, Monica Berrea of the Salvation Army and Tori Buchannan, wife of RDC employee Virgil Buchanan.

From Tulsa, Okla., to Pikeville, Ky., and points between, 47 organizations received up to $300 from AEP to support people in need in their communities. Employees worked with the charitable groups to conduct virtual or COVID-safe food and clothing drives, beautification projects and more.

Five employees at DC Cook Nuclear Plant combined Nuclear Science Week with Making a Difference by recording themselves reading STEM-themed books for a South Haven Public School kindergarten class. They used the Making a Difference grant to purchase the books for the students and posted the videos to the Cook Plant Facebook.

In San Angelo, Texas, Gricelda Calzada, manager, External Affairs, and her team used the $300 Making a Difference grant to support Meals for the Elderly. Two retired employees, one contractor and five full time AEP Texas employees, along with an employee’s spouse, deliver approximately 22 meals each week. “Volunteering for Meals for the Elderly is essential because without volunteers like us, these homebound elderly would not be able to get a hot meal each day,” Calzada said.

Making a Difference Grant project highlights:

AEP Corporate and AEP Ohio

Girl Scouts RFSU – prepare outdoor skills training kits for Girl Scouts in grades 6-12

Hilliard Ohio Soccer Association – provide soccer equipment for disadvantaged families

Mid-Ohio Food Collective – purchase and package items for the foodbank

Nisonger Early Learning Program – adapt two-seat power wheels for children receiving therapy

Pioneer School – provide alternative life skills job-training materials

Serving Our Neighbors – prepare “grab and go” meal kits for children K-12

Star House – provide personal hygiene items to homeless youth ages 14-24

Sufficient Grace - provide healthy meals for undernourished schoolchildren

YWCA Family Center – host a luncheon for families and assist with the purchase of COVID supplies


AEP Texas

Feeding CASA, Corpus Christi - support virtual lunch for youth and volunteers

Meals for the Elderly – deliver nutritious meals to homebound elderly in San Angelo

Pregnancy Center of the Coastal Bend – provide diapers, formula and other necessities for mothers and children

Salvation Army, Corpus Christi – feed the homeless through monthly street outreach program


Appalachian Power


American Heart Association – support research and provide information to the public

Grace Network of Martinsville-Henry County – support fundraiser for holiday meals and gifts

West Virginia

United Way of Upper Ohio Valley – support the 2020 United Way campaign

Harmony House – provide winter clothing items

Heart & Hand of South Charleston – provide food, clothing, medical equipment and weekend food bags for middle school students and senior citizens

John Marshall High School – help students acquire items they are unable to afford

Marshall County Animal rescue League – purchase items on the shelter’s wish list and prepare a

Marshall County Family Resource Network – purchase and distribute personal hygiene items to community teens

Moundville Middle School – purchase an adaptive bike for special needs children’s physical education program

Southwestern Virginia Action for Youth – hold a COVID-safe mobile Halloween Trunk or Treat

Tug Valley Recovery Shelter – create an Amazon wish list for shelter residents

Washington Lands Elementary School – support Project Lead the Way to encourage science education

Youth Services System, Inc. – Collect and deliver Christmas gifts for youth in the system’s care


Indiana Michigan Power

South Haven Public School – provide outreach to local elementary kindergarten class via video STEM books read and recorded by DC Cook Nuclear plant employees

United Way of Southwest Michigan – assemble senior personal care kits for the fall/winter months


Kentucky Power

East Kentucky Dream Center, Inc. – prepare “to go” lunch boxes for clients


Neighbors Helping Neighbors – support activities to provide food, clothing, medicine, etc., for people in need

Comfort Closets – support the backpack program to meet a variety of student needs from school supplies to food to clothing and hygiene items

Cummings Family Ministry – support a canned food drive

Grand Lake Community Ministry, Inc. – support activities for vulnerable people on the South Side of Grand Lake, OK.

Indian health Care Resource Center of Tulsa, Inc. – assist Native American children and their families with food, clothing and household items

Iron Gate Trust – purchase warm clothes and food for Iron Gate guests

Light of Hope, Inc. – support a fresh food distribution event

Parent Child Center of Tulsa, Inc. – build a play area at the facility

Sigma Oklahoma Foundation – support youth mentoring with STEM education materials and activities

The Bridges Foundation – support individuals with developmental disabilities with donations for adaptive equipment and other needs

Tulsa Memorial Junior High School – collect and donate school supplies for teachers and students to support remote learning

Vinita Day Center – purchase paint and other supplies to enhance the facility




Hope Distributors – purchase bulk non-perishable food items for distribution to local food banks


Learning Ladder Academy – purchase a laptop/Chromebook to facilitate E-learning

Right to Play, Inc. – maintain and beautify the park with new plants and fresh mulch and making repairs as necessary


City of Waskom – purchase a video camera for use by park staff

Heartisans – repair and renovate for facility expansion

Senior Citizens of Texarkana – purchase ice chests to hold and distribute meals to the elderly


2020 Making a Difference Grants