Columbus, Ohio,
05:03 PM

MPC employee organizes campaign to benefit Ronald McDonald House

MPC’s Guiding Principles include a statement that says we believe in community partnerships, and this was a great way to partner with the community.
Bob Jarabeck

When Bob Jarabeck, senior health, environment and safety professional at Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) thinks of McDonald’s, it’s more than those iconic golden arches and hamburgers. Instead, he says he focuses on a smiling, redheaded clown named Ronald and the houses bearing his name.

Jarabeck first visited a Ronald McDonald House (RMH) while taking part in a community service project during a meeting of MPC’s Terminal, Transport & Rail (TT&R) Environmental Compliance group in Columbus, Ohio.

“I was impressed with the support RMH offers families with hospitalized children,” recalls Jarabeck, who was then based at Brecksville, Ohio. “Children need the security of having their parents near them, but staying at the hospital around-the-clock can be a tremendous challenge. As a parent and grandparent, I could not imagine going through an experience like that. An RMH gives families a home-away-from-home and some stability in the midst of challenging circumstances at little or no cost.”

While at the RMH, Jarabeck signed up to receive the non-profit organization’s newsletter, in which he came across an article about a pop-tab drive. He approached TT&R Northern Environmental Supervisor Steve Chalupa for approval to initiate an RMH Pop Tab Challenge.

“I was happy to give it,” recalls Chalupa. “To me, it wasn’t so much about the money, although every penny counts. It was about Bob’s passion for helping someone less fortunate. He took the project and ran with it.”

Jarabeck contacted the seven terminals he worked with at the time, explaining the drive’s purpose and challenging each to collect as many pop tabs as possible. For added incentive, the terminal collecting the most pop tabs (MPC’s Floreffe terminal in Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania) received a steak dinner prepared by Jarabeck himself.

Throughout the course of the drive, Jarabeck continually encouraged the terminals to compete and excel. At the end of the challenge, between 60-70 pounds of tabs were delivered to the Columbus RMH.

Some might think a few buckets of tabs can’t help much, but Jarabeck and Chalupa know better. “According to a community development associate at the Columbus RMH, the Pop Tab Program annually brings in between $15,000 and $20,000 a year toward operating expenses,” notes Chalupa.

“MPC’s Guiding Principles include a statement that says we believe in community partnerships, and this was a great way to partner with the community,” says Jarabeck. “It was an enjoyable activity that helped RMH help others, and it built camaraderie between TT&R terminals. I would encourage everyone to do something like this.”