Fueling More Than Tanks: 2,263 Ways to Help the Madera Community

During times of need, one of the most important things we can do is support our communities and take care of those around us. Pilot Travel Center #365 in Madera, California and Central California Women’s Facility did exactly that.

In September, Central Valley was faced with devastating fires that damaged and destroyed the lives of many. The Creek Fire that engulfed that area was the largest single fire in California’s history.

The Central California Women’s Facility saw the impact the fire had on people in their community and made a plan to help out with a pizza fundraiser event at the Women’s Facility. Courtney Cipriani, the Community Resources Manager at Central California Women’s Facility, reached out to the Pilot Travel Center and asked if they could make enough pizzas for the event, in hopes to raise money for the Madera County Food Bank. Our team members were happy to help and got to work.

“At first, we weren’t even sure we had the tools to make that many pizzas, but once we heard about the fundraising effort at the Central California Women’s Facility, we knew we needed it make it happen,” said Jairo Avalos, a Pilot Company Regional Manager.

Over a five-day period, our team members made a record-breaking 2,263 pizzas.

It took the collective resourced and efforts of team members from four stores in the region to fill this enormous order. Working together, our team members made more than 500 pizzas each day with hourly pick-ups to ensure hot and fresh pizza for the event. The incarcerated women and facilitators at the Central California Women’s Facility raved over the quality of the pizza and were able to raise over $9,000 for the Madera County Food Bank from the pizza sales.

“Having these fundraisers at our facility is a great way for those offenders in our care to directly give back to charity or victims of crime, which instills a positive correctional presence in our community. On average we raise around $100,000-$150,000 for charity each year. For this sale, I have a great relationship with the staff at the Madera Pilot and have done a few sales with them prior. When I explained that we were raising money for the Creek Fire and having the Madera Food Bank provide 40,000 pounds of food boxes to those living in that affected area, Management Staff were gracious to work with me on this fundraiser,” said Cipriani.

The money raised by the CCWF was able to help families in need throughout the community, just in time for Thanksgiving. To show our support for the Madera community and our incredible team members, we are matching CCWF’s donation to the Madera County Food Bank, giving $9,000 this December to help provide meals to families for the upcoming holidays.

“Due to COVID-19, the wildfires and now the holidays, there are more people in need this year. The Madera County Food Bank would like to thank Pilot Company for their matching donation of $9,000 to our organization. We are feeding over 70,000 individuals a month and distributing up to 500,000 pounds of food a month and we have seen a 25% increase of new clients utilizing the food bank. We are so thankful for donors like Pilot Company to help us continue to fight hunger in our community,” said Ryan McWherter, Executive Director of the Madera County Food Bank.

“This was truly a team effort between all four Pilot Flying J locations in the area. I’m thankful for the dedication of our team members year round, but this was above and beyond and I am so proud of them,” said Avalos.

We’d like to thank our team members, Central California Women’s Facility and the Madera County Food Bank for taking care of their community and those affected by the Creek Fire. To make a donation to the Madera County Food Bank, visit https://www.maderafoodbank.com/.

As a growth company, we are always looking for more incredible people to join our team. To learn more about our career and internship opportunities, visit https://jobs.pilotflyingj.com/. As the sixth largest restaurant operator in North America with more than 400 quick-service restaurants (QSR) at its stores, there are currently more than 100 available QSR/deli positions ranging from leadership to entry level part-time and full-time roles.

To see how else our team members are fueling more than tanks, check out our last blog.

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