GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Salvation Army has bestowed its highest national award for corporate citizenship to Consumers Energy for its 30-year leadership with the PeopleCare assistance program. The Salvation Army's Western Michigan Northern Indiana Divisional Commander Major Thomas Bowers presented the William Booth Award at the organization's national advisory board conference last week in Grand Rapids. Major Bowers was assigned to Jackson in 1983 when PeopleCare was launched by Consumers Energy and The Salvation Army to help Michigan residents in need. "We're honored to be recognized for the partnership we've had with The Salvation Army for the past 30 years," said David Mengebier, Consumers Energy senior vice president for governmental and public affairs, who accepted the award on the company's behalf. "Part of our Promise to Michigan is caring for the communities we serve. PeopleCare helps us do just that." Consumers Energy employees and customers have donated nearly $17 million to PeopleCare since 1983. In addition, the company has provided more than $33 million in bill credits during this time. "Because you have evidenced deep concern for others as exemplified by William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army, this award is presented to Consumers Energy for outstanding contributions for the betterment of humanity, personal participation and civic and philanthropic affairs," said Major Bowers. The William Booth Award is the most prestigious national recognition that the Salvation Army awards to organizational partners. About 8,000 families each year in Michigan receive emergency help of some kind through PeopleCare - everything from as simple as a bus ticket to a child's first pair of eyeglasses. With significant cuts in various public assistance programs, particularly federal programs, and the slow economic recovery for many lower income households, the need is expected to be great this year. Each October, with cold weather around the corner, Consumers Energy makes a public appeal to its 2.9 million customers and employees to support PeopleCare with a special check-off box on customer bills which "makes every penny count." Employee donations are matched by Consumers Energy.