LAWRENCE — Students, families and first responders in Van Buren County are benefitting from a grant that was awarded to the Van Buren Intermediate School District (ISD) last week.

Entergy, the company that owns Palisades Power Plant in Covert, gave the ISD $25,000 to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ISD Superintendent Jeff Mills.

“The funds will be used to support meals to students and families throughout Van Buren County, to purchase 9,000 face shields to be used by the local fire departments, hospitals, and first responders, and to purchase devices to support staff members and students in delivering educational learning opportunities,” he said.

In addition, some of the money will be available to support families and students for items or financial assistance in the coming weeks.

Patty Riddlebarger, vice president of Entergy’s corporate social responsibility, said in a news release that Entergy shareholders are committing $700,000 to its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

“We know from experience that working families and low-income elderly and disabled customers are hardest hit during times of crisis,” she said. “We are working quickly to make funds available to community partners that serve vulnerable households to lessen the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis and ensure that families have the resources they need to get by during this time of uncertainty.”

Mills said Entergy and Palisades have been wonderful supporters over the years for many activities in the community and the local school districts served by the ISD.

“It is nice to see the company step forward and provide this much needed financial support for Van Buren County residents during this COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Contact:, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman