Basin Electric employee finds the power of an apple

Levchak apples

Teresa Chrest, Bartlett & West; Jena Gullo, Missouri Slope Areawide United Way; and Paul Levchak, husband of Basin Electric Staff Counsel Deb Levchak, with the apples.

Each year, employees of Basin Electric get a chance to hear from leaders at Missouri Slope Areawide United Way about what the agency does in the community. Part of this year’s program focued on Backpacks for Kids, in which 500 kids who live below the poverty line get a backpack each Friday with enough food to get them through the weekend.

An idea came to Deb Levchak, Basin Electric staff counsel.

“It hit me. During the break, I went up to Jena Gullo and said, ‘Would you guys like apples for the backpacks?’ She said, ‘Yes!’ I said, ‘Well, you have 500 backpacks. How many apples would you like to put in each backpack?’ She said, ‘Two?'”

Deb Levchak and her husband, Paul, have planted many trees over the years, seven of which are apple trees. Some years, the trees produce many apples; some years, they produce few.

This year was a good year.

Paul Levchak picked more than 1,000 apples to add to the backpacks for kids one week in November.

Watch the video to hear from the Levchaks and also Laura Just, a social worker in Mandan, ND, who got to see what power those apples held for the students.

Just says United Way has done a lot to help the backpack program continue. “Because of funding cuts, last year Community Action could only provide food backpacks for every other week. United Way found out about the need and now provides backpacks two times a month as well so our kiddos get food every weekend,” she says.

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