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NEW YORK -- Convenience retailers are taking the adage of "It is better to give than to receive" this holiday season, as two c-store operators -- Holiday Stationstores and QuikTrip -- launched programs to give back to the communities they serve.
In Elk River, Minn., participating Holiday Stationstores are helping a Parade of Lights inaugural effort become a success, reported the Elk River Star.
The campaign -- created by the chairman for the Early Childhood Family Education Advisory Council, Crystal Johnson -- was developed to offer residents a map of houses that are decorated in holiday lights, the report stated. Participating Holiday Stationstores will supply the maps to paradegoers, along with the Handke Community Center in Elk River, Minn.
"This is kind of my brainchild and I'm trying to get it off the ground," she told the paper.
Johnson told the Star she hopes at least 50 homes will sign up to decorate and be listed on the maps.
The only requirement for homes to participate in the Parade of Lights is that the decorations must be turned on starting Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the holiday season. Lights also need to be on for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, according to the report.
In addition, Holiday Stationstores and other locations where the maps will be supplied will have donation boxes. Any money received will go toward the cost of printing the maps, and leftover funds will be donated to improvements of the Advisory Council's playground, according to the report.
In other holiday news, Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip Corp. provided funds to the River Parks Authority to add holiday decorations near the Pedestrian Bridge at Riverside Drive and 29th Street in Tulsa, Tulsa World reported.
Decorations include two Christmas trees -- one 16 feet tall and the other 20 feet tall -- covered in garland and colored lights. The trees, which will arrive this week, will be placed north of the bridge, the report stated.
"I haven't seen anything like them here in Tulsa," Tonja Pitzer, manager of public relations for River Parks, told Tulsa World.
In addition, donations made in subsequent years will make the tree grow -- the authority will add 2-foot-tall pieces to the base of the trees as more donations come in. Some trees have expanded as high as 110 feet, Pitzer told the paper.
"That's the cool thing," she said. "Tulsa will see these trees grow."
QuikTrip, along with Arrow Trucking Co. and Sinclair refinery provided funds to the authority, which spent $15,000 on new decorations.
"I'm grateful for the sponsors that made this possible," Matt Meyer, executive director of River Parks Authority, told Tulsa World.