SHARE/Round Up Program has assisting families with utilities for over 50 years and counting
Published 9:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2023
Since their creation, the SHARE and Round-Up Programs have made a large impact in assisting those in need with utility assistance.
The SHARE program was created in June 1984, by the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Peter’s Catholic Church. The institution presented a proposal to representatives of the City of LaGrange and Troup County, that resulted in the creation of the program.
SHARE provides utility assistance for low-income, elderly, ill and disabled individuals who meet income and eligibility requirements. Funding for the program is provided by customers of the City of LaGrange Utilities Department and Diverse Power through voluntary additions to their electric bill.
Paul Stedman, executive director of LaGrange Personal Aid, said the organization took over the program in 1990.
The Round Up Program was created by the City of LaGrange as a way to provide additional funding to help low-income residents of LaGrange with their utility bills. Like the SHARE program, funding comes from utility bills that are voluntarily “rounded up” to the next dollar.
Stedman said while funds from the SHARE program can go to anyone in the county, Round-Up funds are only available for customers with a City of LaGrange utility or water bill.
“When they started Round Up, it was a godsend because that gives us between $4,000 and $5,000 a month that allows us to help a lot more people,” Stedman said. “The rules were always $100 for each person once a year, and then they could get assistance with the SHARE/Round up to five times in a lifetime. When we got the Round up money, they gave us the ability to help with $200 for seniors and veterans.”
Stedman said it’s important for people to remember that the organization does not set the rules for the amounts given in the program.
“The City of LaGrange and Diverse Power set the rules for the money. Sometimes people get angry at us and they say, ‘Well, that’s not going to help or that’s too long of a wait’ and I say it’s not us that sets the rules,” Stedman said.
“It’s a great program that has helped many people going through hard times. While it benefits people, it also benefits the city. The money that comes out of the city goes right back to the city,” Stedman said.
For more information on LaGrange Personal Aid, visit http://www.lpaa.org/ or call 706 -882- 9291.