A philanthropic program underway in Yellow Springs aims to help utility consumers facing disconnection get their bills paid. Program organizers say the Utility Round-Up Program (URUP) is a community-wide effort where residents can “round-up” their paid bills to the next dollar. The extra monies taken in would then be applied to default accounts before any disconnection would take place.
Conor Jameson is the URUP coordinator and a Miller Fellow at Antioch College. She says the program gives community members a way to use spare change to create change for people who “need a little and a little help from time to time.”
In support of the program, several fundraising/awareness events have taken place. On Thursday, May 16, 2019, the URUP will be the beneficiary the Yellow Springs Brewery’s Thirsty Thursday, a weekly event that benefits a local non-profit.
“It's been really wonderful collaborating with the Yellow Springs brewery and everyone over there is awesome, and very accommodating, very supportive of our cause,” Jameson says. “This really is a community wide event and a community wide initiative. We're really working to raise awareness of this program so people can support one another in the Yellow Springs community.”
Jameson says the faculty and staff at Antioch College has also been very generous in their support of the program. She says other events are being organized but the easiest way for YS residents to get involved is by simply checking a box at the bottom of their utility bill. This will round up their payment to the next dollar.
Village Manager of Yellow Springs, Patti Bates, is also encouraging residents who are able to check the box and support the URUP.
“We really need this program to survive to be able to help residents,” she says. “So far this year alone we have helped eight residents avoid shut off and so we just really need to keep those donations coming in.
Bates is advising anyone who feels they can benefit from the program to register at the Yellow Springs Utilities Office, and says details on the Yellow Springs Brewery event can be found on their Facebook page, or through the Village Billing Utility Office.