The Paper photo by Frank Phillips<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Martin Parish (left), Vice President of Valero presents Linden Plant Manager Rob Malnight with a plaque honoring the Linden plant with 100 percent participation in the 2013 United Way program. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
The Paper photo by Frank Phillips

Martin Parish (left), Vice President of Valero presents Linden Plant Manager Rob Malnight with a plaque honoring the Linden plant with 100 percent participation in the 2013 United Way program.

LINDEN-Valero Energy Corp. has already blown past its goal for the 2014 MUFFY fund drive. Valero's goal for the drive was $23,608. As of noon, Wednesday, employees had raised $27,331. And, more is coming in every day, said the plant's United Way Coordinator Lisa Cooper. And that was before the company's big kick off celebration on Wednesday with a dunk tank and corn game and lunch supplied by the company.

Reaching out for MUFFY is nothing new for Valero.

Bill Day, a company spokesman, said Valero has been associated with United Way since it was formed in 1980. Giving is part of its culture.

In the past three years, the Linden plant has had 100 percent participation, Cooper said. The company has 63 employees at its Linden facility and 55 of those had pledged as of Wednesday.

The United Way is the state charity for Valero but employees can designate their gift go to their home county and because most of Linden's employees live in Montgomery County, most of the money stays here and is distributed through MUFFY, she said.

Valero Vice President Martin Parish came to Linden for Wednesday's kick off program. The Purdue University graduate, who now works out of Valero's San Antonio, Texas, home office, read a few bullet points about charity from the book, "Life's Little Instruction Book" by H. Jackson Brown Jr., including: "Give all the clothes you haven't worn in the past three years," "Contribute 5 percent of your income to charity," "Be kinder than necessary" and "Don't allow self-pity. The moment that emotion starts, do something nice for someone who has less than you."

MUFFY Executive Director David Johnson said MUFFY has "a great partnership with United Way of Greater Lafayette and he praised Cooper for being "a great cheerleader" for the United Way.

Cooper told the group huddled under a tent set up on the Valero parking lot, "When you go home tonight, don't eat anything. When you get up tomorrow, don't eat anything until lunch."

She said that if everyone would skip all meals but lunch during the week and not eat anything on weekends, they would understand what one in four Indiana children go through and why United Way agencies, such as Food Finders is so important. Food Finders distributes food in Montgomery County and 15 other Indiana counties.

Karen Branch and Jane Christopherson of the Youth Service Bureau presented their work, as a MUFFY agency, to the Valero employees at the kickoff.