Global Literacy Program Expands in Morehouse Parish Through Drax Sponsorship

Elementary school students in Morehouse Parish are being given the chance to exchange letters with “Pen Friends” over 7,000 miles away in the United Kingdom thanks to a program sponsored by renewable energy company Drax.

The “Pen Friends” program is part of United Way’s ‘READ. LEARN. SUCCEED.’ initiative that aims to improve children’s literacy and increase social mobility. The program, championed by Drax, was introduced last school year at Delta and Morehouse Elementary Schools. It offers second and third grade students the opportunity to exchange letters with volunteers  to practice their reading and writing.

Drax recently sponsored the expansion of the program to include over 100 students in Morehouse Parish, making it possible for students to correspond with volunteers from Drax’s operations in the U.S. as well as thousands of miles away in the UK and Canada.

“I was keen to join the ‘Pen Friends’ program having heard about it from my colleagues in the U.S. – it’s such a worthwhile initiative to help and encourage children with their literacy skills and support the communities where we live and work,” said UK-based Kendra Jackson, Drax Internal Communications Business Partner. “My first letter has been sent and I’m looking forward to hearing from my ‘Pen Friend’ to learn more about her – hopefully I can pass on my love of reading, even in a small way!”

Each month, participating students receive a letter and a packet filled with books, activities, and other educational tools to aid in their learning.

“I’m really enjoying the experience of being a ‘Pen Friend’ as it means a lot to be able to help young people with their education and learning,” said Canada-based Alan Verbeke, Drax Health & Safety Manager. “I’m looking forward to learning about my Pen Friend’s life and goals, and I hope the program helps them have even more fun at school.”

Drax has supported educational programs in Louisiana through donations that helped communities impacted by natural disasters and COVID-19. Support included Hurricane Ida relief efforts, an environmental education workshop for teachers, a Classroom of the Month program and the United Way’s ‘Pen Friends’ program.

Contact Information:

Alex Schott
VP, North America Communications
[email protected]

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonization project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro, and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.

The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver four million tons of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.

Pellet production and supply:

The Group has 19 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around five million tons a year.

Drax is targeting eight million tons of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over three million tons of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.

Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.