Capital Area United Way partners with Nucor Steel to provide 4,200+ grocery cards
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2021
VACHERIE — Upon learning there are 275 homeless students and 54 displaced staff members in the St. James Parish School System in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Nucor Steel and Capital Area United Way partnered to make a big impact.
More than 4,200 Associated Grocers gift cards, purchased by Nucor and discounted by AG, were recently gifted to every student, faculty and staff member in the St. James Parish School District. The gift cards were presented at a recent St. James School Board meeting before being distributed to Central Office and 11 school sites.
Each individual also received a United Way 211 resource packet, in addition to a SingleCare discount prescription card. The 329 homeless or displaced students and staff members received an addition gift card worth $135 to fulfill grocery needs during the holiday season.
Anne Detillier, administrative director of teaching & learning for St. James Parish Schools, said this donation will greatly benefit local families.
“We have had a lot going on between COVID and Ida. It’s sad to know the number of kids and staff that are living in campers or still living with neighbors or family. We have some staff that is driving miles and miles from the closest hotel rooms to come to work,” Detillier said. “There is a host of obstacles that they are fighting through, but they are coming to work; the kids are coming to school. This is something that is needed. It’s very much appreciated, and it’s coming at a very good time with the holidays.”
Calvin Hart, Nucor Steel Louisiana’s general manager, was inspired to do something “big” for the holiday season. St. James Parish is not only where the Nucor facility is located; it’s a beloved community where 260 teammates live and work, and Hart believes it’s important to support the people of St. James Parish in a time of need.
That commitment extends to supporting the St. James Parish School System. The latest gift card donation was worth more than $100,000.
“Our relationship with the St. James Parish School System goes back a long way. We have a leadership program at Paulina Elementary, and we’ve also given away multiple scholarships to our technical Academy in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to residents of St. James Parish,” Hart said. “We feel like this is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, there was a natural disaster, and this provided an opportunity for us to get involved and help bridge the gap in this community where a food shortage is felt amongst the children.”
Hart said Nucor Steel has also looked at data from Capital Area United Way, which shows that 45% of the St. James Parish population is classified as “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.”
Nucor and Capital Area United Way first partnered in November to provided food boxes to employees at St. James Parish Hospital. The “United We Feed” initiative also led United Way and Nucor to present grocery gift cards to 110 members of the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“At the end of the day, we’re a steel company, and United Way is a humanitarian company. Any opportunity that we have to get involved and make a difference in the community, United Way has a way of expanding that impact,” Hart said.
George Bell, president and CEO of Capital Area United Way, said, “Nucor has done a lot over the years in St. James Parish just on their own. United Way has also done a lot in this community, working with other corporate partners. I’m so excited about this new partnership that we have started with Nucor Steel. I think it’s a perfect match.”
Bell added that the Associated Grocers gift cards will create an economic benefit by keeping tax dollars within the parish, while also supporting a local business in a region that has been heavily devastated by a natural disaster.
Bobby Williams, vice president of human resources at Associated Grocers, welcomes opportunities to support communities that member retailers serve.
“Being a good community partner is important to Associated Grocers. We are a local company that supports local people. Lastly, we are privileged to be able to play a small role in helping a lot of people through this initiative,” Williams said.