Brightening senior lives

Community News

Volunteers at this year's Holiday Gala included (left to right): Kevin Yackley, Andrew Sovine, Susan Gates, Monica Gibbs, Derek Gibbs, Regina Cooper, Jennifer Simmons, James Christie, Bobbie Pennington, Kim Davis, Cherlyn Bennett and Taylor Redwine.

Forty years ago, Kevin Yackley noticed a number of senior citizens were showing up at his restaurant in Texas City, Texas, over the holidays. He soon learned they had no family or friends in the area and that going out for a nice meal was how they observed Christmas. The thought of seniors spending the holidays alone troubled Yackley, so he invited them into his home for a Christmas celebration.

Yackley’s holiday initiative has since evolved into The SeniorShare Program of Galveston County, Inc., formed to help reduce holiday depression among seniors and to ensure none go unnoticed. SeniorShare annually throws an all-out Holiday Gala attended by more than 600 seniors and presented by about 300 volunteers and service staff. A similar Independence Day event, Celebrate America, has been implemented as well.

“Marathon Petroleum has been the key sponsor of SeniorShare since its inception, with over 40 volunteers, including employees and interns from both Texas refineries, annually taking part,” notes Andrew Sovine, a Human Resources consultant at Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s (MPC’s) refinery in Texas City, Texas. “Volunteers are vital to the success of SeniorShare initiatives, and we are never short of workers. Our MPC Texas City family enjoys taking part.”

In fact, the number of MPC volunteers has risen from about 12 in 2010 to more than 40 for the most recent SeniorShare event. MPC volunteers work in crews to ensure coverage at all times, doing everything from setup, decorating and take down to, most importantly, spending quality time with the senior citizens and spreading holiday cheer.

“The SeniorShare staff never fails to recognize MPC, making sure everybody knows the events wouldn’t be possible without us,” notes Sovine. “In return, SeniorShare gives us an opportunity to brighten the lives of some of our neighbors, get the Marathon Petroleum brand out there, and work with our industry partners for a good cause.”