Natural gas utilities across our country continue to make impressive strides when it comes to #FuelingOurCommunities. Not only are our member companies committed to delivering natural gas safely and reliably to the more than 177 million Americans who depend on it, they also place great pride in their commitment to service for every member of their communities. This month we are spotlighting Consumers Energy and its inspiring effort to combat homelessness and extend a helping hand to those in need.
In June, Consumers Energy welcomed 184 new and returning interns at their annual summer luncheon. In order to provide a true understanding of the philanthropic nature that exists at the company, interns are encouraged to take part in Consumers Energy 9th annual Intern Challenge, a month-long service project designed specifically for interns to give back to their local communities throughout the state. This year, interns volunteered at a variety of nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, Jackson Interfaith Shelter and Heart of West Michigan United Way, participating in the Food from the Heart Initiative. Participants remarked on how rewarding they found this initiative; last year, interns collected 3,500 items for food pantries and assembled 130 ready-to-prepare meals that fed 260 people eligible for assistance across Kalamazoo County.
In addition, in 2015, Consumers Energy raised more than $215,000 to go towards Michigan nonprofits on behalf of its 547 volunteers. Specifically, the company provided more than $105,000 to 30 higher educational institutions, 16 community foundations, 55 local food banks and 14 homeless shelters. Since 2001, Consumers Energy has contributed more than $955,000 to Habitat for Humanity and pledged an additional $200,000 from the Consumers Energy Foundation for its neighborhood revitalization initiative. The company believes this is a solid foundation for a long-term investment in improving the communities they work and live in.
AGA commends the remarkable efforts Consumers Energy is making to help their communities become a more vibrant and welcoming place. Please use the hashtag #FuelingOurCommunities to highlight how you and your company are giving back so we can promote your good work on our social media channels. Next month, we will be highlighting volunteer efforts geared toward taking care of the environment. Please share your initiatives with us to be featured on the True Blue Natural Gas blog.