Linden refinery donates to many front-line organizations

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LINDEN, NJ — Due to the pandemic, many people are out of work, quarantining indoors and social-distancing. The COVID-19 outbreak has crippled many. This negative impact on the economy has been felt on the front lines as well. But, thanks to Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery, many front-line workers in Union County have been receiving assistance.

Phillips 66 is a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company that processes, transports, stores and markets fuels and products globally. The company has really stepped up to the plate to help the area during this trying time.

“Annually, we provide charitable contributions to over 75 charities/organizations that support the people of our local area and region,” Phillips 66 public affairs manager Nancy Sadlon told LocalSource on May 31. “Most recently, we have donated to a number of the organizations hit hardest with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have provided financial assistance and supplies such as PPE, which are face coverings, and sanitizer provided by our Phillips 66 commercial department and gasoline brand Conoco. There are numerous other philanthropic contributions for all kinds of work — from dictionaries to peregrine falcon education.”

Recently, the company has gone above and beyond its usual level of philanthropy.

“On average, we allocate about $130,000 from the Bayway local public affairs budget for annual giving and an additional amount of $230,000 from the Phillips 66 Corporate Philanthropy allocation to Bayway for large projects,” Sadlon said. “This year, due to the unprecedented needs surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, an additional $125,000 in corporate-funded support has been allocated to our business unit, Bayway Refinery, for relief support in our area.

“These Phillips 66 Corporate Philanthropy COVID-19 relief funds were given to three key organizations on the front lines of the pandemic,” Sadlon continued. “From our local charitable contributions budget, an additional $17,500 was allocated to local organizations also on the front lines struggling to have adequate protective equipment or food supplies as a result of the pandemic.”

Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery touched many this year.

“The organizations that received contributions from Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery were Trinitas Regional Medical Center, who received $50,000; Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rahway, who received $50,000; and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, who received $25,000. These donations were under the corporate COVID-19 allocation to Bayway,” Sadlon said.

According to Sadlon, many organizations benefited from the Bayway COVID-19 donation allocation, which drew on the company’s local charitable budget and product donations from the company’s gas brand.

The Linden Police Department received a $6,000 donation, and the Linden Fire Department received a $5,000 donation.

Linden Interfaith Network for Community Services’ food pantry received more than $1,000 in gift cards, Conoco wipes, hand sanitizers and Conoco-brand cotton masks.

United Way of Greater Union County received $2,500; and St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth received $1,500 for refrigerator/freezer needs, as well as gift cards, wipes, hand sanitizers and cotton masks.

The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless received more than $1,000 in gift cards, wipes, hand sanitizers and cotton masks, while Morning Star Community Center received gift cards, wipes, hand sanitizers and cotton masks.

Rahway Community Action Organization received gift cards, wipes, hand sanitizers and cotton masks, and Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home received $2,000.

“Phillips 66’s core company values are safety, honor and commitment,” Sadlon said. “In living these values, we have always supported the communities in which we operate with charitable contributions and participation in their fundraising events. Now, more than ever, our communities face unprecedented challenges related to this pandemic, and we want to help them more than ever and as much as possible.”

Phillips 66’s philanthropic contributions are dedicated to four categories, their four pillars of giving — education and literacy, environment and sustainability, community safety and preparedness, and civic enrichment.

For education and literacy, the company has contributed to numerous high school scholarships and school programs in Linden, Rahway, Elizabeth and Staten Island, as well as programs run by Restore Ministries, Junior Achievement of New Jersey and Linden Science Resource Center.

For environment and sustainability, the company has contributed to Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, Groundwork Elizabeth, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation projects for floodplain mitigation and rain gardens in Linden.

For community safety and preparedness, the company has contributed to Linden’s Police and Fire departments and Office of Emergency Management, as well as fire training schools in Middlesex and Union counties.

Other community investments, which fall under the fourth pillar of civic enrichment, include contributions to local and regional food banks, as well as to numerous civic organizations, such as the African American Chamber of Commerce, the Ammon Foundation, the Linden Chamber of Commerce, the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Linden Industrial Association, the YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County.

“It is a privilege to be able to give to so many good causes and to support the local communities that surround the refinery,” Sadlon said. “I am very proud to work for a company that really lives its values and consistently supports local community needs. As stated by refinery manager Chris Gallo regarding allocation of COVID-19 funds, ‘We feel strongly that these organizations who have staff on the front lines, serving our neighbors who need it most during the COVID-19 pandemic, is where our corporate relief funds must go.’”

Organizations that have received donations have expressed their gratitude.

“They’ve been very generous with us,” Joseph LaPlaca, of the LINCS food pantry, said on June 1. “They came to our rescue; they made sure our people were able to get to work. They also gave us hand sanitizer and hand sanitizer flips. They’ve provided $10 gift certificates of gasoline from their company and company gas. We had a lot of people come to our pantry.

“When Phillips 66 came to our rescue, we were in desperate need of certain items,” he continued. “We also had some volunteers who came over to help us. Their aid was very special, because we are a low-income program, and, because of this, we’ve opened up our doors to everyone. As a food pantry, we see approximately 150 to 170 low-income families we deal with. Phillips 66 understands where we come from, and they’ve always been on our side.”

Rahway Community Action Organization Director of Finance and Administration Kristen Koehler called community partners like Phillips 66 precious.

“Rahway Community Action is extremely grateful for Phillips 66’s support and especially helping us troubleshoot our community’s needs during the pandemic,” Koehler said on June 1. “Not only did they just say they wanted to help but asked us how they can. For example, one of the things we noticed at our food pantry was that our patrons did not have masks. They couldn’t afford food, so masks were a luxury. Phillips 66 shipped them to us immediately.

“Also, we are a small nonprofit with a very lean budget. Printing and copying is a large expense. Phillips 66 offered to print and copy our students’ educational packets for those that do not have access to a computer or printer at home, so they didn’t fall behind,” she continued. “They also provided gas cards for clients of the Rahway Family Success Center, to ensure (transportation for) those who needed to get to the food pantry or even to work as hours are cut. Community partners like this are invaluable.”

St. Joseph Social Service Center Executive Director Bernadette Murphy called the donation a true blessing.

“Phillips 66 donated masks, wipes, hand sanitizer and gas gift cards last month in response to the pandemic,” Murphy said on June 1. “The donation was truly a blessing, as we were able to distribute the items to many members of the Elizabeth community who needed them. We made kits with the masks, wipes and sanitizer, and distributed them along with our food pantry items. We are helping clients in need with the gas gift cards. Phillips 66 is a wonderful local partner and helps us with many initiatives, including our ‘Not Fried Day’ healthy salad program on select Fridays. We are very grateful for the partnership from many caring individuals at Phillips 66.”

Linden Police Department public information officer Lt. Christopher Guenther called Phillips 66 an important partner.

“Phillips 66 has been a very generous and important partner of ours for many years,” Guenther said on June 1. “Some of their donations included a UV light during the COVID-19 pandemic and for traffic safety improvements to help protect students surrounding many of our elementary schools and along South Park Avenue. They have made other donations as well over the years, like a smartboard for our training room.”

Linden Fire Department Deputy Chief George Kuhn mentioned that because of Phillips 66’s support, Linden is a safer place to live and work.

“In the initial stages of the COVID-19 crisis, the Linden Fire Department, as well as many other agencies, quickly became overwhelmed with the logistics of keeping our personnel safe, maintaining safe operating procedures and trying to obtain personal protection equipment,” Kuhn said on June 1. “Phillips 66 offered the Linden Fire Department monetary assistance, which enabled us to purchase essential medical equipment, providing the citizens of Linden with essential emergency services in their time of need.”

According to Kuhn, the company donated $15,000 for the purchase of bailout kits and other equipment. The bailout kit is a personal self-rescue device that each firefighter carries in case they become trapped and need to bail out a window. In addition, the department used some of the funds to purchase equipment that allows for in-house training on using the kit. Additionally, 50 pairs of safety goggles will go to the Junior Fire Academy recruits attending the weeklong summer camp.

“Phillips 66 has always been a great supporter of the Linden Fire Department,” Kuhn said on June 1. “Through numerous grants to purchase equipment and training opportunities such as apparatus pump operator, rope rescue, flammable liquid fires and National Foam School at TEEX Texas A&M, Phillips 66 continues to demonstrate and live by their core values of safety, honor and commitment. They are not only a great corporate neighbor but are also genuinely concerned for the safety and well-being of the Linden Fire Department. Because of their support, the city of Linden is a safer place to live and work.”

Phillips 66 has helped Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Rahway purchase radios and vests for first responders in previous years, but this year was much different. Due to the deadly COVID-19 outbreak, Phillips 66 has donated $50,000 toward an oxygen upgrade project and digital stethoscopes to aid the hospital in the fight against coronavirus. Phillips 66’s donation is part of a larger $3 million that was distributed to nearby communities with high rates of coronavirus cases. More than half of those funds went to health care providers.

Since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, the greatest need at RWJUH Rahway is for oxygen and the means to deliver it. The donation also helped defray the costs of oxygen and upgrading the hospital’s oxygen system.

“The demand for oxygen has been and remains great,” RWJUH Rahway CEO Kirk Tice said. “We are incredibly thankful to Phillips 66 for their help and support.

Photos Courtesy of Nancy Sadlon