PSEG Long Island continues to make a positive impact on Freeport and other communities through volunteerism and charitable efforts with a company-wide advocacy program.
The PSEG has focused on supporting and giving back to its neighbors for years, and is involved in a variety of annual initiatives, including the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Jones Beach each fall. The utility also contributes to food banks such as Island Harvest.
One key component of PSEG’s programs is customer advocates, such as Susan West and Tonya Simmons in the Advocacy, Education and Outreach department. This team of employees works closely with local organizations and agencies to ensure that customers have access to the resources and programs they need.
For the last decade, West and Simmons have assisted many residents and local organizations.
“We go out into the community on a regular basis,” Simmons said. “We sit at pantries, and we work closely with agencies that help customers all the time. So, we’re very aware of the communities that we’re serving and where there’s a lack of resources.”
The holiday season was brighter for local children in need thanks to the generosity of those who donated over $1,500 in toys, games, gift cards and cash to the PSEG Long Island Outreach Council’s annual toy collection drive.
The donations were distributed to over a dozen different organizations across Long Island. One of the long-term organizations to benefit from these donations is the Long Island Council of Churches in Freeport.
“The reason we support organizations like the Long Island Council of Churches is because we recognize the importance of their work, they are not just our customers, they’re also our neighbors on Long Island,” West said.
The Long Island Council of Churches is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide assistance to individuals and families throughout Long Island. The organization operates an emergency food center at 230 Hanse Ave., where they provide food and other essential items to those in need. Additionally, they also help individuals with their mortgage, rent, or utilities, and run a program that provides metro cards to those who need to travel to social services offices or job interviews.
The organization is made up of a network of churches across Long Island and Nassau County, and they work to collect food and other items to support their programs throughout the year.
The Long Island Council of Churches is run by program coordinator and manager of the emergency food pantry, Yolanda Murray.
“PSEG, they distribute to a couple of agencies that they know are doing toy distribution to the people in their communities,” Murray said. “So, we’ve been fortunate to get school supplies from them and toys from them on Christmas.”
West and her team have a long-standing partnership with the Long Island Council of Churches which has evolved as more and more visitors came to the council’s food pantry in need of food and other assistance. If these visitors needed assistance to pay electric bills, they would bring this to the attention of Yolanda Murray, who oversees the council’s emergency services. Murray would then reach out to West and her team to work together towards a common goal of helping the person avoid having their electric service terminated.
“The value of all this work goes way beyond the electric bill, just as the pantry, their work goes way beyond the food,” West said.
PSEG’s community outreach efforts include providing information and resources to customers, as well as refer customers in need to other organizations for assistance with issues beyond their electric service, such as food and home insecurity.
“We want our customers to have electricity and to enjoy their lives,” Simmons said. “We will do whatever we can to help in that respect.”