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    Valero, ExxonMobil Give to Youth Causes

    From one-store event to $2 million in grants, industry gives back.

    GARDEN CITY, Kansas -- Christmas came early Friday afternoon at a Valero convenience store here, according to a report in the Garden City Telegram.

    The c-store store hosted Santa Claus, gave out cookies and treats for kids and also gave away gifts, compliments of customers. Customers of the store either donated gifts, or gave money to the store employees to purchase the gifts, which then were given away to children who registered and had their names drawn, according to the newspaper report. At 4 p.m., children registered for the free drawing, and at 5:30 p.m., the gift-giving began. Items that were given away included a bike, stuffed animals, games, bath soaps and lotions.

    Valero employees took photos of the kids with Santa, then printed and distributed the photos to parents for free.

    "We wanted to do something good for the kids," Deneen Aguirre, manager of the store, told the newspaper. "We wanted to get a bunch of people out here and have fun."

    The store also wanted to show its support to loyal customers. "We have very nice customers. We appreciate them," Aguirre added.

    On a much larger scale, for the ninth year, the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program provided grants to local schools across the nation. This year Exxon Mobil Corp. awarded 4,000 $500 grants totaling $2 million to kindergarten through 12th grade educational institutions in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

    "ExxonMobil and our branded retailers have a long history of supporting local neighborhood schools and consider it a privilege to invest our time and resources in the communities where we do business,” Ben Soraci, U.S. retail sales director for ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, said in a statement.

    Educational Alliance grants are to be used to enhance math and science programs. “We are very grateful to be the recipients of this grant. At Meyer Elementary School, we will be using the money to help implement our new math program to provide an enhancement to the core curriculum for our young learners," Ellen Schueling, principal at Meyer Elementary School in Hondo, Texas, said in a statement.

    Through numerous grant and scholarships programs, employee volunteers and matching gift programs, the Irving, Texas-based oil company seeks to help improve teaching and student performance in math and science at schools across the nation, the company said in a statement. Since 2000, the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance program has contributed more than $17 million to local schools through its Exxon and Mobil retailers.

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