Gift of Light Brightens the Flathead Valley This Holiday Season

Flathead Electric Co-op announced that 14 donors gave the literal gift of light to 17 members in need this holiday season. The Gift of Light program, established in 2010, allows donors to support anonymous members struggling to pay their electric bills. 2021 donations to date total $7,953.44, with $3,691 being credited to selected members’ accounts in that same time frame. The gifts can remain anonymous, or the Co-op can send a certificate in the donor’s name.

Recipients of the Gift of Light typically don’t quite meet guidelines for other forms of assistance, but they have faced unusual circumstances of which the Co-op is made aware. As a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility, the Co-op cannot simply forgive electric bills for those in need, but it can, and does, encourage its members to help their fellow members as they are able.

“The Gift of Light allows us to help some of the most vulnerable members of our community, who are out of options and need help with their electric bills,” said Ross Holter, Director of Energy and Member Services at the Co-op. “Caring about all members of our community is who we are as a Co-operative.”

“You can just feel the weight lifting off their shoulders,” is how Co-op employee Stacie Erickson describes the impact of the Gift of Light program. Erickson helps administer the program, and she says recipients are often overwhelmed with gratitude by the gesture. The Gift of Light is available all year long but seems especially helpful over the holiday season. Contact the Co-op for more information on providing the Gift of Light for someone special on your holiday list, or give Stacie a call at 406-751-4483.

The Gift of Light is just one such program administered by the Co-op. For example, members are also encouraged to round up their bills to the nearest dollar each month to support the well-known Roundup for Safety program. Since 1997, Roundup has contributed over $3.5 million dollars to safety projects around the Flathead Valley. Rounding up typically costs members about $6 per year.

Flathead Electric Co-op was founded in 1937 to bring electric service to rural areas of the Flathead Valley. The Co-op offers generation, transmission, and distribution of affordable, reliable, carbon-free electric energy services. It is now the largest co-op in Montana, serving 55,000+ members, while focusing on community, innovation, and reliability.