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In honor of Dakota Electric Association’s 75th anniversary, employees have decided to step up their volunteer efforts. Volunteering and community involvement are not new to Dakota Electric as demonstrated by the company being named the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization for 2011 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. However, employees have decided to increase volunteer efforts for 2012 to celebrate the company’s milestone year.

The employees’ goal for 2012 is to promote participation in activities that haven’t typically been done by the company in the past. Dakota Electric also plans to move the volunteer efforts around the area to assist different organizations.

“We are going to provide opportunities for our employees to volunteer in a variety of ways around our service territory,” Malinda Mehrhoff, human resources manager, said. Mehrhoff serves on the volunteer planning committee. “Many of our employees already do a lot of volunteer work, but we hope to get more employees involved and to try things they may not have done before,” she added.

The first volunteer event was packing food for Feed My Starving Children in Eagan. Two crews of employees packed for two nights in January. In just a short time, they and other volunteers were able to pack more than 26,000 meals, which is enough food to feed 74 children for an entire year.
“It is amazing what can be accomplished in a short time,” Mehrhoff said. “It was very meaningful work and a good opportunity for our employees to do something outside of work together.”

In February, employees packaged powdered soap to be distributed by local food shelves. In March, employees filled birthday bags with gifts through Cheerful Givers. The bags were then delivered to food shelves around the county and the B. Robert Lewis House in Eagan.

In April, employees spent time doing odd jobs at a local YMCA camp, Camp Streefland, in Lakeville. Employees enjoyed the time raking, moving wood, hauling rock, spreading mulch and more.

“These volunteer opportunities are a great way to give back to the communities,” Corey Willert, a Dakota Electric employee and volunteer, said.

Dakota Electric is planning other volunteer opportunities in 2012 as part of the cooperative celebrating 75 years of service.

“We are happy that we have employees who care about the local communities and are willing to give their time,” Mehrhoff said. “Besides our legacy of bringing safe, reliable electricity to the area, we hope our volunteer efforts and community involvement make an impact.”

Celebrating 75 years of service in 2012, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 100,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy Partner, serves its member/owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.