The Guadalupe Charter School, located in the Rose Park community of Salt Lake City, has provided hope to thousands of Utah families since 1966 with their mission of transforming lives through education. The school offers early childhood, elementary and adult education programs for a community that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of ongoing gentrification and COVID-19.
With cost of living rising in surrounding neighborhoods and increased unemployment caused by the pandemic, some of the school’s families are experiencing high stress conditions, struggling to afford adequate housing, food or childcare. For many, it has become difficult to save money, which means that during an emergency they find themselves choosing between food or other basic necessities.
In response, the Guadalupe School, which strives to cultivate a safe environment for their students both in the classroom and at home, created the Guadalupe School Pantry to provide families with essential household items.
In March, members of the Hispanic Employee Network (HEN) at Marathon Petroleum’s Salt Lake City refinery learned about the pantry when they reached out to school leadership looking for opportunities to help. With this news, HEN organized a three-week employee donation drive, which was successful in fully stocking the pantry with much needed items, including hygiene products and cleaning supplies.
"The majority of our Guadalupe School families live in poverty. While many receive help providing food for their family through food stamps or food banks, household essentials are rarely included,” explained Becky Youkstetter, development director at Guadalupe School. “Thanks to our friends at Marathon Petroleum, our families will now have the ability to pick up items such as shampoo, diapers or toothpaste, right at our school. It has already been making a big difference in the lives of our students."
“The Guadalupe School provides education and many other benefits to an underserved segment of the population with a mostly Hispanic make up,” said Tenoch Benitez, refining chemist and HEN leader at the Salt Lake City refinery. “Community service is part of our Diversity Equity & Inclusion team’s mission and we are very proud to be able to support our neighbors through the school.”
Marathon Petroleum’s partnership with the Guadalupe School spans almost a decade not only through employee volunteerism and giving, but also through grants that have helped fund a new building, technology upgrades and STEM curriculum and activities.
Read more from the Guadalupe School here.