Valero Energy Corporation and the Valero Energy Foundation are committing $300,000 to support New Orleans organizations on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic response. Of that, $225,000 will directly impact St. Charles Parish.
Taryn Rogers, Valero public affairs manager, said the support is part of an overall $1.8 million commitment to help people who need it most, primarily in cities where the company operates.
“We are fortunate to have great industry partners in our parish such as Valero and appreciate their generosity during this uncertain time,” said St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell.
In addition, Valero is providing gas cards to selected charitable organizations to provide access to essential fuels and products for their operations.
“Valero and the Valero Energy Foundation want to make sure organizations on the front lines have the resources they need to be able to continue to provide vital services,” Valero St. Charles Refinery Vice President and General Manager Jerry Stumbo said. “We appreciate these organizations and others for continuing to take care of our community.”
Several organizations that serve St. Charles Parish will receive funding, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana. The food bank will receive $100,000 to increase food packaging and distribution efforts for all 23 parishes it serves, including St. Charles Parish where Valero has an operation. Second Harvest also will receive $10,000 worth of fuel gas cards that will be used to distribute meals during the COVID-19 epidemic.
“This donation will be made on behalf of our employees who live in many of the 23 parishes,” Rogers said.
The St. Charles Parish School System will receive $40,000 for Google Chromebooks for students who are working from home. The school system will also implement a program that will provide a means for teachers to reach out to parents of students working from home.
St. Charles Parish Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Oertling said the school system has had a long-standing relationship with Valero – St. Charles Operations.
“Valero has been a constant supporter of our school system and community at large,” Oertling said. “Valero recognizes the value of a strong public school system and how it contributes to the quality of life in our community.”
Oertling said the Chromebooks will help close the learning and achievement gap and provide support to students as the district shifts to remote learning.
“During this time of need and uncertainty, one thing for certain is Valero’s commitment to assisting its community and making a difference,” he said.
Matthew 25:35 Ministries’ Food Pantry in St. Charles Parish will receive $25,000 from Valero to purchase a new refrigerator, additional food for distribution and bags to package food for local residents. Catholic Charities in St. Charles Parish will receive $25,000 to assist with its emergency fund, which is used to help families in need during times of crisis.
St. Charles Council on Aging will receive $20,000 to increase efforts and sustain the Meals on Wheels program delivering food to homebound seniors. In addition, the organization will receive $5,000 in fuel cards.
April Keller, executive director of the COA, said Valero’s donation will go far in helping to provide meal service to seniors.
“We are currently delivering 360 hot meals Monday through Friday to our senior clients, she said. “We also deliver frozen meals for the weekend and holidays to over 40 clients.”
Keller said the organization is continuing to provide transportation services for seniors to provide the safest transport to dialysis, therapy, the pharmacy and the grocery store.
“The health and the safety of our employees, our families and our communities are critically important,” Valero Chairman and CEO Joe Gorder said. “We are blessed to be able to continue supporting our community partners as we all work together to overcome this extraordinary situation.”
In addition to the monetary donations, Rogers said Valero is proud to support Ochsner Health.
“Last week, Valero purchased meals for their respiratory ICU team working night shift,” Rogers said. “We cannot thank them enough for working hard to serve our community especially during time of uncertainty … we are all in this together.”
Rogers said this week 300 Voo Doo BBQ meals will be delivered to Ochsner Health’s Luling location, which is Valero’s way of supporting healthcare workers and helping a local business in St. Charles Parish.