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Majors provide support during coronavirus crisis

May 22, 2020 By    

Though states are now cautiously beginning to reopen, the past several months have been busy for several of the major companies in the propane industry. Suburban Propane, Ferrellgas and AmeriGas each stepped up to support surrounding communities during the heat of the crisis through donations and service.

Suburban Propane

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Suburban Propane’s delivery sites during the coronavirus included the USS Comfort docked in the New York Harbor. Photo courtesy of Suburban Propane

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reached out to Suburban Propane for assistance providing propane to heat RVs and portable showers for its staff in the New York City area. The company’s aid was acknowledged by New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo.

“SuburbanCares, one of our three corporate pillars, highlights our continued dedication to giving back to our local communities,” says Nandini Sankara, associate vice president of marketing for Suburban. “During these uncertain times, we [were] especially proud to answer the call for help for propane in order to provide heat and hot water for those working on the front lines for COVID-19.”

Suburban’s Newark, New Jersey, location promptly responded to an urgent request from FEMA for propane to be delivered to several locations in the New York City area. Delivery sites included the USS Comfort docked in the New York Harbor and the Jacob Javits Convention Center, both located in Manhattan, as well as the New York City Emergency Operations Center located in Brooklyn.

“We were able to mobilize and place tanks very quickly and in small spaces while ensuring all permitting and safety requirements were met,” says Sankara.

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“SuburbanCares, one of our three corporate pillars, highlights our continued dedication to giving back to our local communities,” says Nandini Sankara. Photo courtesy of Suburban Propane

The Suburban Propane team continues to work closely with hospitals and local authorities across its footprint to meet needs. It also gave back to health care workers through a partnership with Papa John’s locations in the Washington, D.C., and Maryland area and Aurelio’s Pizza in Chicago, providing 1,000 pizzas to health care workers in each location.

Ferrellgas

Ferrellgas assisted in setting up temporary heat and, in some cases, power generation at testing sites near hospitals and healthcare facilities, says Scott Brockelmeyer, vice president of marketing and communications.

Ferrellgas regularly partners with community organizations through more than 700 connections at both the state and local level. Brockelmeyer says, in the past, Ferrellgas has stepped up to help during natural disasters like storms and wildfires to provide Blue Rhino products to those in need.

“There’s definitely a well-established network,” says Brockelmeyer. “Though the size and scope of this is something we haven’t seen.”

Ferrellgas delivered propane for one of many RVs across the country that provided a safe space for frontline workers. Photo: Ferrellgas

Ferrellgas delivered propane for one of many RVs across the country that provided a safe space for frontline workers. Photo by Bryan Aceve

The company’s partnerships, with which they continue to work during the pandemic, include the Red Cross. Ferrellgas is also a sponsor of the 501(c)(3) disaster relief organization Operation BBQ Relief, a program that has provided over 1 million meals in eight states during the pandemic. The organization teamed up with restaurants to deliver meals to the homeless, veterans, first responders, health care workers and families through providing stipends to reopen closed restaurants.

As for propane supply deliveries, Ferrellgas was also contacted about filling up an RV in someone’s driveway that was housing hospital first responders.

“We typically don’t do this, but because of the situation, I gave them a great price,” says Chris LeBreck, general manager of one of Ferrellgas’ Chicago locations. “I actually saw a national news report about this and how people were driving their RVs all over the country so first responders could use them and distance themselves from their families.”

AmeriGas

AmeriGas partnered with RiteAid Corp. at a testing facility in Philadelphia. Photo: AmeriGas

AmeriGas partnered with RiteAid Corp. at a testing facility in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of AmeriGas

AmeriGas and its parent company, UGI Corp., supported its communities during the coronavirus pandemic by providing propane supply as well as financial support to organizations.

Upon receiving directive from the White House COVID-19 Response Working Group, the Rite Aid Corp. turned to AmeriGas for assistance. AmeriGas supplied and delivered the tanks needed to power outdoor heaters at a pilot outdoor testing facility for first responders and health care workers in Philadelphia. The AmeriGas team quickly coordinated the delivery of tanks before 8 a.m. the following morning and continued to keep this facility warm for the duration of its use.

AmeriGas employees continued to partner with testing sites throughout their communities to help set up temporary heaters to keep frontline workers warm from the elements.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, AmeriGas continued to supply tanks, as well as help set up temporary heaters to warm frontline workers at testing sites. Photo: AmeriGas

In Worcester, Massachusetts, AmeriGas continued to supply tanks, as well as help set up temporary heaters to warm frontline workers at testing sites. Photo courtesy of AmeriGas

UGI Corp. and its affiliated companies also provided over $200,000 of financial support to community organizations, according to Business Wire. The company, based in the greater Philadelphia area, donated $100,000 to a rapid response fund known as PHL COVID-19, which provides resources to non-profit organizations serving the most vulnerable populations in the region. UGI Utilities and UGI Energy Services together provided $100,000 to regional food banks.

“We will continue to identify productive ways to help out our communities and do all that we can to keep our employees, customers and communities safe,” says John L. Walsh, president and CEO of UGI Corp.

About the Author:

Sarah Peecher is the Digital Media Content Producer for LP Gas. Her experience includes content creation and strategy for both print and digital media, giving her the skills to share stories on websites and social media platforms.

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