Valero receives recognition for community support, volunteer service

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
A group of volunteers from the Ardmore Valero Refinery lay sod at a Habitat for Humanity home.

Valero was recently recognized as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States by Points of Light, the worlds’ largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. In 2019, the company generated more than $64 million for nonprofit and charitable organizations through direct and in-kind donations, fundraising and volunteerism.

Sara Jones, community relations advisor for Valero Ardmore Refinery, said the company is dedicated to serving the community and supporting local nonprofit organizations. Throughout the year, refinery employees can be found volunteering and supporting a number of these organizations. In fact, they are able to make suggestions about which nonprofits the refinery should look into supporting.

“One of the things that we do is work with our employees to see what matters to them — where their passions lie and what their interests are,” Jones said. “With employee feedback we’re able to find out about new charitable opportunities as well as nonprofits that may be in need of funding. I think that brings a family feeling to our projects.”

The United Way of South Central Oklahoma is one of the many organizations that benefit from Valero’s support. Jones said employees pledged $325,316 to United Way in 2019. Once additional fundraising and a company match are added, it all adds up to approximately $685,000 in contributions for the nonprofit.

A major source of this funding comes from the Valero United Way BBQ Showdown. The event typically takes place in early July, but it has been postponed until later this fall due to the pandemic.

“Right now we’ve got it tentatively scheduled for September 11 and 12, but just like everybody else we’re waiting to see how things are looking before that’s completely official,” Jones said. “We’re hoping things will allow us to have a great event to raise funds for the United Way, but we want to make sure it will be safe for all the attendees and participants.”

In addition to their work with United Way, Jones said volunteers from Valero also help with Ardmore Habitat for Humanity and at the local soup kitchen. 

Recently, they have focused a portion of their efforts in helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic by supplying gas cards to frontline healthcare workers and the volunteers for INCA RSVP. 

“Their volunteers saw a huge increase in the need to deliver food and medication for the at-risk population and the elderly,” Jones said. “They use their personal vehicles, and many of those volunteers are on a fixed income, so we wanted to help cover some of their expenses.”

Jones said Valero is looking forward to continuing their community service efforts, and they are always interested in finding new ways to help.

“If there is a need, we want people to let us know about it,” Jones said. “We want to see what we can do to help support those vital nonprofits that are providing valuable services to our community.”