Coronavirus pushes ExxonMobil to donate 1M meals to Houston-area residents

Donations include gasoline gift cards for Exxon- and Mobil-branded retail stations

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ExxonMobil is proving one million meals to Houston-area residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Houston Food Bank, which is working to feed children, families and senior citizens facing hardship as a result of the virus, will receive $200,000 to help deliver food to those in need. The donation includes $50,000 worth of gasoline gift cards for Exxon- and Mobil-branded retail stations, ExxonMobil said.

The international energy company is also allocating $50,000 to the Montgomery County Food Bank.

"We value the important roles the Houston and Montgomery County food banks are playing in supplying food to vulnerable populations in the Houston region during these difficult times,” ExxonMobil's vice president of public and government affairs Suzanne McCarron said “We hope our contributions will help their efforts and those who need assistance as our community pulls together to defeat COVID-19.”

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Food banks have for years been increasing the amount of food they deliver to pantries that pass it along to needy people, but the economic upheaval caused by COVID-19 is expected to cause demand to skyrocket. Meeting the need would be tough enough, but the response has been complicated by a virus that requires people to avoid the kind of close interaction typical in food packaging and distribution.

Houston Food Bank chief executive officer Brian Greene said the number of people relying on the food bank and its partners has "heightened significantly" as the pandemic persists.

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Likewise, the Montgomery County Food Bank is also seeing a spike in demand for food. The food bank is currently working with over 60 partner agencies, local independent school districts and senior adult partner complexes in order to ensure the safe distribution of food.

"Tens of thousands of people are looking to us for hunger relief during this challenging time," Montgomery County Food Bank CEO Allison Hulett. "We are so thankful for their support so we might add a measure of stability to those affected in the form of their next meal.”

ExxonMobil has about 11,000 employees living and working the greater Houston area that are ocused on keeping its workforce safe while maintaining the production of materials critical to the global response such as reusable shields and face masks for health care workers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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