Valero donates big to needy
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Over $1,600 given by employees to ‘Food for Families’
By KEVIN CHIRI
Editor and Publisher
LAPLACE – For the second year in a row, employees with Valero have donated many of their extra Christmas grocery gift cards to L’Observateur’s “Food for Families” program.
Valero Vice President and General Manager Ralph Phillip said that besides usual Christmas bonuses, the 573 employees at Valero are also given an extra gift of a $25 gift card to Winn Dixie.
Last year, when one of the employees saw the story in L’Observateur about the annual “Food for Families” program, there was a suggestion to donate cards to the newspaper’s Christmas food box giveaway.
“When we saw the program, one of the employees asked if they could donate their card, and we decided to make it optional for employees to do that with their grocery card if they wanted,” Valero Community Relations Analyst Taryn Miller said. “And we’ve kept that option open again this year.”
So far, over $1,600 in gift cards have been donated to the “Food for Families” program this year.
“This is just an extra gift we give to our employees for Christmas and it’s nice the way they want to be so generous,” Phillip said. “We try to do a lot of things at the holidays for others, and our employees are very willing to help.”
Valero recently held a Toy and Gift Fund for children in St. Charles Parish, with a special day there when they gave out free lunch along with allowing children to come to the Harry Hurst Elementary School, where they were able to select a toy for Christmas.
Unprivileged children from St. Charles Parish were invited to attend to play games, take their pictures with Santa and receive a toy and a book. Presents were distributed to 953 children that day.
Valero provided hot chocolate and breakfast for everyone, as well as cooked and served 1200 hot dogs, with chili for lunch. About 50 Valero employees also cooked and served jambalaya to the 125 volunteers. Valero had about 50 volunteers the day of the event and also provided
25 volunteers and a pizza lunch for the set up of the gym.
Members of the Toy and Gift Fund will also bring gifts to some children who could not make it that day, as well as deliver about 200 gifts to senior citizens who are home bound or in nursing homes.
This Saturday, employees from Valero will also go to Children’s Hospital with 60 volunteers to hand out toys to the children there who won’t be able to go home for Christmas.
“All of these things are strictly volunteer,” Phillip said. “But it’s nice to see how many things our employees want to do for others at Christmas.”