As the nation reels from the economic crash of the COVID-19 lockdown, Aera Energy is supporting local communities in significant ways.
Since late March, Aera has donated $355,000 to mid-California nonprofits hit hard by increased calls for community help. These have come as California’s coronavirus restrictions close businesses and schools and force major job losses.
Aera’s financial donations have gone to COVID-19 relief funds in areas where the longtime oil and gas producer operates, including Kern, Monterey, Fresno and Ventura counties. Aera is Ventura County’s largest onshore oil producer.
Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) was an early recipient. One of the first major companies to step forward last month, Aera donated $50,000 to the Camarillo-based nonprofit. VCCF directed the donation to its Rapid Response Fund and created a community challenge to generate additional contributions to address the COVID-19 crisis. A strong response enabled VCCF to provide more than $500,000 directly to its nonprofit partners by April 9 to help them provide food, housing and other assistance to the community.
“The Ventura community benefitted quickly and immediately from the monies the Foundation was able to disburse to those in need,” said Michele Newell, Aera’s public affairs representative in Ventura.
Other Ventura area organizations receiving Aera donations include:
Westpark Community Center on Ventura’s Westside. Aera has provided the nonprofit with more than 500 reusable shopping bags. These are expediting food distributions and promoting safe delivery by enhancing social distancing.
Health Care Foundation of Ventura County’s “Gown Brigade.” Aera delivered a supply of industrial trash bags in mid-April to Ventura County Medical Center for the Gown Brigade to use the bags to fabricate much-needed isolation gowns. These will help protect healthcare workers on the front lines.
Gas cards for local hospital staff. Through Western States Petroleum Association, Aera and other members provided 22 $50 Visa gift cards to help local hospital staff with expenses and show appreciation for their ongoing efforts.
Aera’s crisis support comes as the oil and gas producer deals with its own COVID-19 impacts. More than a month ago, Aera moved more than 800 employees to home offices to work remotely. Its crisis management response team continues to meet daily to address employee needs and support field operations amid historically low oil prices.
“At our field locations, Aera employees are essential workers,” Newell said. “We have taken steps to ensure their safety through social distancing, additional protective equipment such as masks and face shields, daily symptom checks and more. We are continuing to safely and responsibly produce the energy that fuels California.