Cooking for a cause in North Dakota

Community News

Dickinson, North Dakota, Foundation
  • Marathon Petroleum employees supported a record-setting event to benefit children with critical illnesses through the Make-A-Wish® Foundation.
  • The Bakken BBQ cook-off in Dickinson, North Dakota, raised an estimated $100,000 for the foundation.
  • MPC’s Dickinson Renewable Diesel Facility, MPLX’s Gathering and Processing component, and the renewable diesel facility’s Women’s employee network chapter each participated in the event.

A wheelchair-accessible, backyard play area for a child with muscular dystrophy and a trip to Paris for a teenager with lymphoma. The North Dakota chapter of the Make-A-Wish® Foundation fulfills dreams such as these for young people with critical illnesses through help from fundraising efforts like the recent Bakken BBQ, an annual barbeque cook-off in Dickinson, North Dakota. After a record-setting attendance of about 5,000 people, event organizers say they anticipate this year’s charitable donations could exceed $100,000 once all financial figures are finalized.Barbecue at the Bakken BBQ event

More than two dozen employee volunteers from Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) and its MPLX midstream segment supported Bakken BBQ. The 46-team cook-off included a team from MPC’s Dickinson Renewable Diesel Facility and one from MPLX’s Gathering and Processing (G&P) component. The renewable diesel facility’s Women’s employee network chapter also managed an event booth, and MPLX donated $5,000 as a sponsor.

“Hearing about children experiencing chronic and serious illnesses really pulls on the heart strings, so you want to help this event be successful to rally around these children in need,” said MPC Advanced Human Resources Business Partner DeEll Jordre.

Since Bakken BBQ’s inception in 2013, it has raised more than $578,000 for a variety of charities, primarily Make-A-Wish® North Dakota. In recent years, the statewide reach of this organization has touched the lives of children in Dickinson.

“Make-A-Wish® coordinated an experience for a young boy who wanted to be a police officer, working with local drama teachers and Dickinson law enforcement representatives to stage a fake bank robbery, so the boy could apprehend the suspects,’” MPC Operations Scheduler Trish Chvojka said.

Additionally, donations from Bakken BBQ have assisted the Dickinson backpack program, which provides backpacks full of food to school children who may have limited access to food at their homes on weekends.

This event allowed MPC and MPLX employees who don’t typically work together on the job to make connections for possible volunteer collaboration in the future. Members of the groups said they’ve been looking to expand their community involvement and this event provided a chance to do so.

“The renewable diesel facility hadn’t entered a team in this competition before, so we appreciated the opportunity to give back and strengthen our local contributions,” Dickinson Operations Day Foreman Jake Benz said.

G&P Project Engineer Annette Sluder left no doubt about the impact of the experience on her and fellow MPLX volunteers.

“Our team is already talking about what we will prepare next year,” she said. “It’s one of the biggest single charity events in the area, so we want to be part of making a real difference in the lives of children and their families.”