Awards & Events

WKBN, Covelli, Vallourec Raise Funds for Harvey Relief

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – WKBN-TV, WYTV and affiliated television stations in the Mahoning Valley will conduct a telethon today to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey. And that effort will get a boost from Covelli Enterprises as well as local employees of Houston-based Vallourec.

The telethon will air on the five Nexstar stations from 5 to 8 p.m. Crawls along the bottom of screens during regular programming will give call-in information and station personalities will be on air during commercial breaks, said David Coy, station general manager.

“Like everyone else over the weekend, all of us at the station saw the horrific things going on in Houston,” Coy said. When local American Red Cross executive director Karen Conklin was at the station to discuss how the chapter was being activated to go to Houston, they discussed how the station could help.

“We decided to have a local telethon to raise money through the Red Cross. That’s what they need,” Coy said.

About 10 members of Vallourec’s offices in Youngstown – which include Vallourec Star, VAM USA and Vallourec USA Corp. – will staff the phone bank and take pledges , said Vallourec spokeswoman Jean Gaetano.

“This is our small part to do something for our friends and colleagues,” she said.

Vallourec’s North American headquarters is in Houston, and the company has sales, service, production and administrative sites in eight locations across the metropolitan area. Practically all of the company’s 1,000 employees there have been impacted in some way, with many experiencing flooding or other water-related issues, and several were evacuated, Gaetano said.

“It is a heartbreaking situation,” she remarked. “The positive story out of the tragedy is the kindness and humanity our colleagues are giving and receiving. People are reaching out to their families, neighbors and strangers to lend a hand or provide a place to stay; going to shelters and churches to cook or hand out clothes.

When notified about the telethon, Covelli Enterprises CEO Sam Covelli immediately said he would match contributions made through today’s phone bank up to $10,000,” Coy said.

In addition, businessman Sam Boak of Boak and Sons inc., Austintown, pledged to match contributions up to $10,000, Coy said.

Meanwhile, Covelli Enterprises, which is Panera Bread’s largest franchisee, plans to launch a campaign – possibly as soon as this weekend – to raise funds for Harvey relief efforts.

“Our hearts are with the people in Houston right now,” Covelli said. “It’s important to us to do something in our cafés to support the relief efforts going on down there. We are all Texans right now, and we will do all we can to help in this time of need because it’s the right thing to do.”

Through the “Chip in for Houston” campaign, Panera restaurants in the seven states where Covelli operates them — Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida and Georgia — will sell chocolate chip cookies. Proceeds from the sales will benefit the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, said Covelli spokeswoman Ashlee Mauti.

Covelli-owned Panera cafes also are switching their “community bread box” donation containers at their cash registers over to hurricane relief for the month of September, Mauti said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.