Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Business pays for utility bills for neighbors in need

A local business has eased the pain of the pandemic for six families by paying their utility bills. 

Bella Vita, a gift shop in Germantown, paid $2,500 in utility bills for six families living in Southeast Shelby County. MLGW contacted several local nonprofit agencies who provided the names of the neighbors in need.

Sophia Garland who was assisted by Bella Vita, was elated when she heard the news of her utility bill being paid off in full.  “I just want them (Bella Vita) to know, you came through at a time when I needed it the most,” she said. By having her utility bill paid, she added, “It was something I didn’t have to worry about.” Garland, who has a compromised immune system from breast cancer, has been unable to return to work due to Covid-19. 

In addition to Garland, Bella Vita paid the utility bills for five other families. Four of the MLGW customers had either lost their jobs or had their hours reduced due to the pandemic. Another was off from work due to surgery and caring for a disabled nephew.

“This is truly a blessing to our customers,” said MLGW President and CEO J.T. Young.

The generous donations come on the heels of MLGW launching a new online payment option for the Gift of Comfort program that makes it easier to help those in need.

Emry Hayes, marketing director for Bella Vita, said an employee came up the idea. Someone paid her utility bill soon after she gave birth to premature twins. Hayes added, “We thought it would be a nice way to give back.”

Any business or group can make a gift to help those struggling now and earmark the donation for a certain zip code, area or specific family. To make a payment on someone’s utility bill, go online at or call MLGW Corporate Social Responsibility at 528-4820 to make a larger donation.

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