On a warm, humid afternoon at Cleveland Elementary School in center city Allentown, Pa., chocolate chip cookies helped deliver an important energy message.


E-power presenter Tiffany Foland explains a smart strip surge protector to members of the community at Cleveland Elementary School in Allentown, Pa.

While that may seem like a stretch, it made perfect sense to the younger members of the audience at the Take Action at Home Community Forum at the school on Thursday (9/22). With parents cheering them on, six young volunteers ate one cookie as fast as they could, demonstrating unrestrained use of natural resources. The second cookie was eaten at a controlled, measured pace, showing resources would last longer when used in such a way.


The school’s cafeteria was filled with parents and children who came to hear an energy efficiency message, get a kit containing items to help with energy efficiency at home and raise money for their school. The E-power forum gives grants to participating schools, based on attendance at the forums, and Cleveland netted $1,000 for its turnout. The school is already working hard to reduce its energy use and has a 3 percent reduction goal for this school year.


“We already have the Take Action and Bright Kids programs for students in schools in our service territory, and we normally reach more than 19,000 children and teachers a year. The forums are new this year, and we’re working with parent – teacher groups with the goal of bringing more parents into the energy efficiency fold,” said Mary Thompson Grassi, the E-power coordinator for schools programs. “So far, the response has been great.”

Mary Ann Smeltz discusses ways to save energy at the Take Action at Home Community Forum


The Take Action at Home forums educate audiences on where energy comes from, how it’s used and how they can be more energy-efficient. A video, played at the forum, shows children talking about ways they learned to save energy in their home. About 20 programs are being offered at various schools across the PPL Electric Utilities service territory and will continue through October, which coincidentally is also Energy Awareness Month.


They are offered in English and Spanish, targeting low-income neighborhoods.


“It’s important for families to take action on energy efficiency, and programs like this one instill the knowledge on how to do it and hopefully the enthusiasm to get started,” Thompson Grassi said. “All this helps strengthen the partnerships PPL Electric Utilities has with the communities it serves.”