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NATIONAL REPORT -- Giving back through community service efforts and charity donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of this industry moving ahead. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News will highlight these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights, highlighting several Christmas and holiday charity events.
Geo H. Green Oil
The Wyatt brothers, co-owners of Geo. H. Green Oil in Fairburn, Ga., reported that the company's 2011 annual fundraiser for children surpassed the prior year's $23,500 total by 6.4 percent, finishing with a robust $25,000.
The record-breaking fundraiser allowed about 1,136 Atlanta-area children to wake up Christmas morning to toys and educational material rather than an empty stocking. Employees, vendors, dealers and customers raised money to support Atlanta's Empty Stocking Fund, Newnan's "Welcome House" and Fairburn's "In His Great Name" Ministry.
This Christmas was a little brighter for Returning Heroes Home thanks to a $50,000 gift from San Antonio-based TETCO and the Turner family. The non-profit organization will put the funds toward completing a $3.4-million, 6-acre recreational and therapeutic park to serve wounded warriors and their families.
"My grandfather, Tom E. Turner Sr., instilled a patriotic spirit in my entire family, so we have always been huge supporters of the military, and we are grateful to those troops who go abroad during times of war and risk their lives every day to ensure that we enjoy peace and freedom at home," said Jon Turner, TETCO's vice chairman.
To date, TETCO has donated $220,000 to Returning Heroes Home. Weigel's
Christmas arrived early for 180 children in the Knoxville, Tenn., area thanks to Weigel's Family Christmas. On Saturday, Dec. 10, the children were treated to a day of shopping for the gift of their choosing at a local K-Mart, and then a festive holiday party was held at the Salvation Army recreational center.
"This is our 14th annual Weigel's Family Christmas" said Ken McMullen, president of Weigel's. "This one event has become so important to Weigel's that we have created a special foundation. Giving back to the community in this way touches the lives of each of us, and we want it to continue for generations to come."
Weigel's Family Christmas is a year-long effort by Weigel's staff, their employees and customers. Since the first Weigel's Family Christmas in 1998 when just eight children were selected by the Salvation Army, Weigel's Family Christmas has now grown to 180 children thanks to its employees, vendors, many sponsors and volunteers.
Throughout the year, all Weigel's stores hold special events to raise money.
GSP thanked its retail customers this holiday season by making charitable donations to specific charities on behalf of each customer. The company made a donation to the non-profit organization, Give Kids the World, and to 25 other charities chosen by their retail customers.
"Our charitable gifts received such a positive response last year that we decided to make donating to charity a holiday tradition," said Geoff Neuhoff, CEO of GSP. "Our customers work directly with their communities and understand each community's specific need, so it works well to have each customer select the charity for our holiday donation on their behalf. GSP is pleased to honor and thank our retailing partners by making these charitable gift donations in their name."
Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas
For the 21st consecutive year, the Kansas Highway Patrol received a gasoline donation from the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (PMCA) of Kansas through its Holiday Highway Program. From Christmas Eve through January 1, PMCA gassed up patrol cars.
Last year, the provided fuel allowed the Patrol to assist 2,102 motorists, remove 48 impaired drivers from the roadways and issue 535 citations for occupant protection violations.
Seibert's donated again through BP's "Fueling Communities" program. In June, Seibert's fueling stations were able to donate more than $6,000 to the Richmond Mayor's Youth Academy, giving the education and youth-based program more support for mentoring and training local children for post-secondary education or vocation.
Now, the Richmond, Va.-based fuel wholesale, service station, towing and body shop services company is donating to First Things First of Greater Richmond. The local non-profit organization, dedicated to strengthening families through education, collaboration and mobilization, will use the donation to facilitate healthy relationship workshops and teach at-risk teens about communication and smart steps for building healthy relationships.
Unitec Electronics, manufacturer of car wash payment systems, designated "Share Our Strength" as its beneficiary for charitable efforts in 2012. "Share Our Strength" is a not-for-profit organization aimed at leading the United States in its fight to end hunger for citizens coast to coast.
Unitec Electronics' Charity Committee is in the process of planning events for employees to take part in, beginning with a Mardi Gras-themed luncheon celebration, in February. Bake sales, luncheons, holiday-themed events and raffles will continue throughout the year, with donations and dollars generated from each event contributing to Unitec's total annual contribution, to be presented to Share Our Strength in early 2013.
2012 marks Unitec Electronics' sixth consecutive year of charitable giving, with previously supported organizations including Smile Train, St. Jude's Hospital for Children, and most recently, the Fisher House Foundation, which received a donation of $1,017 as a result of Unitec Electronics' fundraising efforts in 2011. Charities are selected each year based on a companywide nomination and voting system.