The following is a guest post by Rick Hiduk.
It has been a particularly cold couple of months, and those most affected by winter’s bite tend to be the less fortunate families in our region and their children. Since Thanksgiving, Cabot Oil & Gas has been reaching out to the community in a variety of ways and brightening the lives of hundreds of area residents. While Cabot has become known for its ongoing philanthropy, the initiatives covering the holiday season were especially well received.
In November, Cabot associates started gathering turkeys and all the trimmings for a Thanksgiving Dinner Drive with Trehab of Susquehanna County.
“Their contribution was very important to us to be able to purchase items that weren’t donated,” Trehab executive director Dennis Phillips related, noting hams and turkeys in particular. “They get food that will last them a week.”
With Cabot’s help, Trehab was able to assist 800 families. Recipients included senior citizens and working families who still struggle to make ends meet. “When you have no money and you’re paying for heating and rent, having this meal takes a big load off you. It’s a big shot in the arm to help get them through the holidays, and Cabot has been a great help with that.
Before Thanksgiving had even arrived, Cabot was already soliciting contributions for its annual Holiday Toy Drive. The campaign netted more than $12,000 in toys, clothing and funding for other needs last year. Cabot employees joined donors and associates from Susquehanna and Wyoming County’s Interfaith organizations in a shopping trip to Walmart. The toys were taken to Cabot’s headquarters, where they were sorted by county by Cabot employees.
The toy drive coordinated by the Susquehanna County Christmas Bureau differs from others in that eligible families provide a wish list to their respective Interfaith office that includes a few specific gifts their children would enjoy.
“Cabot is very helpful in doing that,” Susquehanna County Interfaith executive director Cindy Beeman said of the process. Additionally, a large number of senior citizens and extra large families – those with five children or more – receive food supplies. “We have a large senior population in Susquehanna County. They are barely making it.”
Once the items are sorted, Cabot employees don costumes and transport the bounty to the Interfaith offices. “They dress up and bring everything in. It is so fun to watch and to see them so excited about it,” Beeman related. “That excitement spreads. It’s not just Cabot. It inspires the generosity of the other companies.”
“The last two years, we’ve really stepped up the pace and given a lot more,” Kenworth of Pennsylvania general manager Fred Pope said of the corporate donation. The company has nine locations throughout PA. “We support organizations that help children across the state. We believe in giving back to the communities. That’s a normal part of our operation.”
Those donating $500 or more included Stafursky Paving, GasSearch Drilling Services, Rain for Rent, Cactus Wellhead, Baker Corp, United Drilling, Superior Energy, Tioga Environmental, Lopke, Cameron Welding, DW Drilling & Blasting, and Sugar Hollow Water Services.
“We’re close partners with Cabot, and this is a program that is close to us,” said Sugar Hollow general manager Bill Hampton. “It’s a feel-good charity to put smiles on children’s faces, and we all have children.” Bill helped with shopping at Walmart. “We enjoy doing our small part for that particular charity, and Cabot has been great to work with,” he stated. Others to help included associates from Moody’s and Rain for Rent.
Though the holidays are officially over, the giving hasn’t stopped. While the aforementioned initiatives are in their seventh year, Cabot is just three years into a partnership with the Weinberg Regional Food Bank for the Fill a Glass with Hope campaign.
The program started in 2015 in the Pittsburgh area. “It was so successful, that the Pennsylvania Dairy Partners came together and said, ‘We want to take this statewide,’” said Jane Smith, executive director of Feeding PA. Fundraisers are conducted and grants are solicited to purchase fresh milk from local cooperatives.
“Over the past seven years, we’ve been pushing to move more fresh product,” Smith said of Feeding PA priorities. “Milk was one of the most requested items in our food pantries, and it is rarely donated. If it is donated, it is close to expiration.”
In Susquehanna County, Cabot Oil & Gas provides a grant to the Weinberg Regional Food Bank (WRFB) to provide milk for school children in need from November to February. Each of
food banks had to be certified through the PA Milk Marketing Board with a newly created Charitable Milk Sub-Dealer license. Milk can then be purchased at a lower price.
“It enables us to make this money go further,” Gene Brady, executive director of the WRFB explained. “Cabot is really a generous supporter of the Fill a Glass,” he continued. “They do a lot to help people.”
Fill a Glass with Hope was an added element to the Children’s Produce Market program in local schools. Students at Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Choconut, Mountain View and Forest City elementary schools have benefited from $143,000 in fresh produce, including vegetables and more than 33,000 servings of fresh milk.
With Cabot serving as the catalyst, WRFB is able to raise money from other generous members of the community provide milk for the remainder of the school year. In 2017, milk was provided to 1,579 Susquehanna County children.
To learn how your company can help Cabot Oil & Gas assist families in need throughout the region, contact Bill desRosiers at 570-278-8616 or William.desRosiers@cabotog.com.