“You don’t even have to bring $500,000, just bring enough to buy my dinner,” the chief executive officer of ESC joked after receiving a donation toward the organization’s weatherization assistance programs for low-income residents.

The donation was one of three made by Empire at a ceremony Wednesday, all for $500,000, totaling a $1.5 million contribution to community action agencies that, among other things, provide assistance to families by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.

 “We’re all together in this,” said David Swain, president of Empire. “And a lot of folks that don’t have the opportunity or don’t have the means to be able to take care of their home and take care of their family. This is our opportunity to be involved in that. We’re humbled and honored to be able to do that.”

Swain said the longstanding relationship between Empire and operations such as ESC has resulted in $2 million in customer energy savings since 2005. Joines said that relationship has extended beyond donations such as Wednesday’s, even into things such as rate cases and increases.

Others that will share in the donation total are Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, which serves a 10 county-region in the Springfield area; and West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, which serves nine counties between Joplin and Kansas City, and east toward Lake of the Ozarks. Most all of the individuals served by the three agencies are in Empire’s service area, the company said.

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