Community Bonds Create Powerful Force Against Hunger in El Paso

May 21, 2024 1:45 PM ET
  • The El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank is collaborating with Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s El Paso, Texas, refinery to meet growing demand for food assistance.
  • Since 2021, the number of families accessing monthly food distributions at the refinery has increased eightfold.
  • Along with continuing distribution efforts in 2024, the refinery has renewed financial support for the food bank with a $75,000 grant and will assist with its annual fundraising gala.

Gasoline and other essential energy products are routinely delivered from Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s (MPC) El Paso, Texas, refinery to meet critical needs. On the last Friday of every month, the site makes an additional crucial delivery. Employee volunteers conduct drive-through food distributions in a refinery parking lot for people in need, dispensing the food from an 18-wheeler’s refrigerated trailer.

“We are in our fourth year of monthly distributions with the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank and the only local company that conducts distributions from our own facility,” said MPC Principal Corporate Social Responsibility & Community Relations Representative V.J. Smith.

Since these events began in 2021, demand for assistance has grown eightfold from an average of 50 families a month to roughly 400. This volume requires the food bank to rely on the 18-wheeler, which the refinery purchased for the organization a few years ago to transport food in the local area. Help from refinery employees with the monthly distributions has remained steady. About 20 employee volunteers each month unload, sort and carry food to the lines of vehicles that form.  

“Most of our workforce is from El Paso and raising families here, so they care deeply about the city,” Smith said. “Their passion drives our community investment.”

On top of continuing food distributions in 2024, the refinery is providing the food bank with a $75,000 grant, marking the sixth consecutive year it has provided direct financial support. Later this year, MPC plans to help the food bank with its annual fundraising gala after serving as the title sponsor of the 2023 Noche de Estrellas event, which raised $183,370. This event was a reverse gala, meaning community VIPs and gala sponsors worked as servers and treated food bank clients to gourmet dining.

"Marathon Petroleum Corporation has consistently demonstrated unparalleled commitment to our mission,” said El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank CEO Susan Goodell. “Their renewed support this year, both through generous grants and active participation in our gala, shows their dedication to our community. We're immensely grateful for Marathon's partnership, which truly makes them an amazing ally in our fight against hunger."