This season of giving is a time to reflect on the generosity of our nuclear employees who have given their time, talent and donations to strengthen the communities around Duke Energy’s six nuclear sites. There are too many activities to list here, but here are highlights of some of the ways our plant employees have given back during 2019.
At the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport, N.C., employees were involved in two environmental stewardship projects. In the summer, employees volunteered at five sea turtle nests. Their efforts helped approximately 500 baby turtles get a good start as they hatched and found their way to the sea to begin their lives. Later in the year, employees continued their tradition of supporting the Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter, a non-profit wild bird rehabilitation center. Sixty employees participated in a project over five weeks to build enclosures for the educational birds. In addition to this work, the Duke Energy Foundation awarded the Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter a $9,500 grant.
At Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, N.C., employees continuously showed their care for their communities by serving underprivileged children in two key programs. This summer, employees completed a service project by stuffing 150 bears to benefit kids in the community who simply need a hug. Caring did not stop there, as Harris employees actively participated in a back-to-school supply drive, where nearly 7,500 supplies were collected for local elementary school students. The plant closed out 2019 with its annual Wish Upon A Star holiday gift campaign in which 28 children from the Moncure School in Chatham County benefitted from the generosity of Harris employees.
For McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, N.C., the EnergyExplorium at Lake Norman provided a scenic location for the Big Day at the Lake. This annual event benefits participants of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Carolinas. This organization pairs children in need with mentors to establish one-on-one positive relationships. The Big Day at the Lake event started 15 years ago as a fun day for children who would otherwise be unable to visit and enjoy Lake Norman. As the host site, McGuire Nuclear Station’s EnergyExplorium provided all the amenities, games and lunch for 400 children and mentors. With summer’s warm weather turning to cooler temperatures, McGuire teammates shifted their focus to helping to those in need to prepare for winter weather. As they’ve done for more than 20 years, McGuire employees donated more than 120 coats, sweaters and blankets to East Lincoln Christian Ministry this past November. Since its inception, the donation drive has collected more than 5,000 coats and countless other winter items.
In addition to decades-long programs, our nuclear employees are finding new ways to give back. For example, Catawba Nuclear Station, in York, S.C., launched a new program for the 2018-2019 school year with Kinard Elementary in Clover. Students who arrive at school early usually sit in classrooms until the bell rings, and the school wanted to find something stimulating and fun for them to do. Seeing an opportunity, Catawba employees launched the Together is Better morning workshop series. Each week for 10 weeks, 14 volunteers gave 20 hours to teach more than 300 students topics ranging from measuring and cooking to coding, fire safety and nuclear energy. And in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Catawba employees participated in a service project to purchase, sort and distribute school supplies to each of the four school districts in York County. The January school supply distribution is one way employees meet what is a crucial need for students at the mid-point of their academic year.
To combat the needs of the hungry on Thanksgiving Day, teammates at Oconee Nuclear Station, in Seneca, S.C., participated in Feed the 5,000 in partnership with Our Daily Bread, a soup kitchen in Oconee County. Feed the 5,000 was started by volunteers in 1992 who served meals to nearly 300 people on Thanksgiving Day. The need for food service five days a week presented itself in 1996, and volunteers with Feed the 5,000 formed Our Daily Bread, a volunteer-led soup kitchen. On Thanksgiving Day, Duke Energy employees, family and friends helped the community prepare and deliver 1,800 Thanksgiving meals at Our Daily Bread in Seneca for families in need. As 2019 draws to a close, Oconee Nuclear Station will host its annual Festival of Trees at the World of Energy. The Festival of Trees is a program in which local nonprofits decorate more than 20 trees for the public to vote on their favorite display. The top three nonprofit organizations will receive $5,000.
As part of Duke Energy in Action month, a company campaign to encourage volunteerism, Robinson Nuclear Plant in Hartsville, S.C. participated in litter pickup events in two counties surrounding the plant. Working with local county officials and Palmetto Pride, a nonprofit focused on anti-litter and beautification efforts, Robinson teammates took part in clean up events in both Chesterfield and Lee Counties. In what has become an annual tradition and employee passion, employees organized a backpack and school supply drive to benefit students in need in Chesterfield, Darlington and Lee Counties. At the campaign’s conclusion, employees donated 433 backpacks stuffed with supplies to students in Chesterfield, Darlington and Lee Counties.
These are just a few of the projects that were completed in 2019, demonstrating the generosity and dedication of employees at Duke Energy’s nuclear sites. With the new year approaching, our 2020 resolution is to continue this good work for those in need in our surrounding plant communities.