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    C-stores' Haitian Relief Continues

    Wawa raises $350,000 during in-store campaign; Kroger's Turkey Hill c-stores launch fundraising effort; and CITGO ships aid to island nation.

    NEW YORK -- Thanks to concerned customers, convenience store chains are continuing to send donations to help Haiti, which is struggling to recover from a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the island nation Jan. 12.

    Wawa Inc.'s chainwide, in-store crisis campaign raised more than $350,000 for the American Red Cross, and allowed customers to contribute to the disaster effort by adding $1 to their Wawa purchase at checkout. In addition to funds raised, Wawa made a $50,000 donation last week to the Red Cross International Relief Fund.

    "Wawa has always had a strong commitment to providing crisis response and assisting those in need, and we've been partnering with the American Red Cross in these kinds of efforts for decades," Howard Stoeckel, Wawa president and CEO, said in a statement. "We have a long history of supporting the Red Cross that includes providing aid for Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina and Rita, the Midwestern Floods, the Asian Tsunamis and September 11th."

    All donations made during the campaign will be donated to the Red Cross International Response Fund, and were designated specifically for the current crisis in Haiti, the company stated.

    "We're constantly overwhelmed by the concern and generosity of our customers, who realize that through a small donation, they can help make a huge difference," added Stoeckel. "We are thrilled by the amount of money raised over the last week and grateful to our customers and associates for making it possible."

    Meanwhile, Turkey Hill Minit Markets, the Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain owned by Kroger Co., launched a company-match program to support relief efforts in Haiti, the Newark Advocate reported.
    Customers can donate to the American Red Cross at Turkey Hill stores in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio. Turkey Hill pledged to match up to $10,000 in customer donations collected in stores through Jan. 31, according to the report.
    And CITGO Petroleum Corp., along with its charitable organization the Simón Bolívar Foundation, began shipments totaling 120 tons of humanitarian aid to Haiti's capital city, Port-Au-Prince, in coordination with the Embassies of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Haiti in the United States.

    This effort complements the contributions of the Venezuelan people through their government, led by President Hugo Chávez, the company stated.

    "In alignment with the solidarity principle of our shareholder, PDVSA, the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, we at CITGO are working very hard to offer additional assistance to the Haitian people at this time of need," Alejandro Granado, president and CEO of CITGO, an affiliate of PDVSA, said in a statement. "Because of this, I am very pleased to witness today the sendoff of this first 20-ton shipment, out of 120-tons of aid to be shipped to Port-A-Prince."

    CITGO allocated $1 million for the purchase of aid to Haiti, which the company estimates will help between 8,000 and 10,000 people. The funds purchased tents, cots and non battery-operated AM/FM radios.

    Additionally, CITGO is conducting a fundraising campaign involving CITGO's 3,600 employees and more than 1,000 energy companies, suppliers, marketers and owners of CITGO-branded service stations, as well as non-governmental/non-profit organizations.

    And CITGO's Simón Bolívar Foundation is matching donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $600,000, from CITGO employees, which potentially could add $1.2 million to the total aid being provided by the company.

    "Not only are we shipping aid items to Port-Au-Prince, we are also sending CITGO representatives to accompany a member of the Venezuelan embassy in the United States, in order to guarantee the arrival and distribution of the aid among the Haitian population, in support of the Haitian authorities and the Simón Bolívar International Brigade, sent by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," Granado noted.

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