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JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Giving back through community service efforts and charitable donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of the convenience store 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:
QuikTrip and Folds of Honor are joining forces this Labor Day weekend to help families of fallen and wounded soldiers with education opportunities. The Tulsa, Okla.-based convenience store chain will donate $1 for every QT Kitchens sandwich, wrap or salad it sells today through Sept. 5.
The pairing is the first for QuikTrip and Folds of Honors, but the company hopes it's not the last, QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said in a report on KRMG.com.
"A lot of our customers and a lot of our employees are either in the military or former military," he said, adding that this charity meets the needs in every market they are in. "This one fits everywhere where we're going to operate."
Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes
The New York State convenience store operator is lending its support to the Rescue Mission, a charity serving the poor and homeless in central New York. Nice N Easy will be collecting clothing, housewares and other items, on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppe at 8578 Henry Clay Blvd. in Clay, N.Y.
Customers who donate clothing, shoes, accessories, household items, linens and anything else they would find at a garage sale will receive a $5 Nice N Easy gift card, while supplies last.
"We appreciate the generosity of Nice N Easy and their customers as they do what they can to brighten the lives of those who depend upon the Rescue Mission," Executive Director Chasz. Parker said.
This will be the second collection for the Rescue Mission that Nice N Easy has participated in this year. All items donated to the Rescue Mission will be given away to neighbors in need or sold in its Thrifty Shopper stores to help provide support services to homeless, hungry and hurting people.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores
Now through Sept. 30, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores employees will be putting their hearts into raising funds for 89 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals by asking customers to purchase $1, $5 or $20 heart icons.
The retailer raises additional funds by holding bake sales, pumping gas for tips, conducting in-store drawings and coordinating other fundraising events. In 2010, Love's raised $1 million at more than 265 of its locations.
Like all Children's Miracle Network Hospital fundraisers, the funds raised from Love's five-week campaign will help create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that save and improve the lives of 17 million children treated at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals each year.
The convenience store operator has been a partner of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals since 1998, raising more than $4.5 million through multiple campaigns.
Chevron Energy Solutions
Chevron Energy Solutions has completed the installation of a 618-kilowatt solar power generating system that is expected to save the Bellevue Union School District in Sonoma County, Calif., more than $3.3 million over the life of the project. The district is guaranteed to save more than $750,000 in the first five years.
The system was installed at four elementary school campuses and reduces the district's electrical utility costs by more than 80 percent. Chevron Energy Solutions designed, engineered and constructed the project, and will operate and maintain the solar system's performance for 10 years.
"As a leader in solar and energy efficiency projects for educational institutions, we are pleased to work with the Bellevue Union School District," said Chevron Energy Solutions President Jim Davis. "Through this project, the district is investing in long-term sustainability for the community."
U.S. Venture, a Wisconsin CITGO marketer, participated in "Being Cool for School," a back-to-school event organized by Menasha, Wis.-based Community Clothes Closet to provide clothes, personal hygiene products and school supplies to local children.
In its efforts, U.S. Venture teamed up with mobile literacy program Bess the Book Bus and Townsend Press to donate school supplies and more than 1,800 books to the 1,000-plus children at the event.
U.S. Venture's participation in the program is part of "Bess the Book Bus Reading Pals," the fuel supplier's ongoing initiative with the nationwide literacy program. The program was launched after a recent visit to Appleton, Wis., as part of a cross-country tour sponsored in part by CITGO Petroleum Corp.
"Everyone at U.S. Venture was so inspired by the wonderful things Bess the Book Bus is doing on her tour, especially here in Wisconsin. We wanted to build upon the success of the recent tour to have an even greater impact on our local community," said Terri Green, director of community engagement with U.S. Venture. "I'm pleased to say this event was an immense success. The look on the kids' faces as they loaded up their backpacks with not only the necessary supplies, but a brand new book, was priceless. We are confident that this program will help make children better prepared for the challenges of the school year and generate greater academic success."
As part of the Reading Pals program, U.S. Venture employees acted as storytellers during the "Being Cool for School" event, reading aloud to children who wanted a break from waiting in line. While they were listening, children could also color on special Bess the Book Bus coloring sheets, provided by CITGO.
The Pantry Inc.
The Pantry Inc. has gotten a helping hand from Jones & Frank and Gilbarco Veeder-Root in meeting its $1 million fundraising goal early in the "Salute Our Troops" summer-long campaign.
Donations from customers and communities across its 13 operating states will support the USO, the Wounded Warrior Project and five state-based military support organizations that benefit soldiers and their families.
"This summer's Salute Our Troops is an ideal campaign for Kangaroo Express and our partners to support the men and women who serve our country," said John Fisher, senior vice president of The Pantry. "We are proud to have Jones & Frank join this campaign to provide an opportunity for our store guests to thank our military for the work and sacrifices required to protect our nation and preserve our freedom."
Kangaroo Express customers are invited to make donations and give shout-outs of praise and appreciation to the military heroes in their lives and communities by posting photos and videos on the Salute Our Troops website. In addition, the USO Salute Our Troops Jeep Tour across the Southeast hit the road on Memorial Day and will be completing its mission on Labor Day.
"We are pleased to work with our partners at Gilbarco Veeder-Root to support great organizations such as these that really help our military families," noted Scott Jones, executive vice president of Jones & Frank. "Many of our team members are veterans, and we are proud to be able to give back to them through this program."
Snapple and Grammy award-winning band Maroon 5 have partnered to launch "Tea Will Be Loved" -- a blend of healthy green tea and black tea with notes of pomegranate and berries. Tea Will Be Loved will benefit Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, by helping to provide 1.75 million meals to those in need.
The beverage was inspired by the personalities of the band members and named for its hit song "She Will Be Loved." This limited-release Snapple tea will be available at participating retailers nationwide beginning on Sept. 1. Tea Will Be Loved features 13 specially marked gold Snapple caps with Real Facts about Maroon 5 and Feeding America.
"Snapple consistently makes the Best Stuff on Earth even better with exceptional flavor combinations and exciting partnerships," said Regan Ebert, vice president of marketing for Snapple. "Tea Will Be Loved will benefit Feeding America and the millions of Americans the organization helps every day. Our collaboration with Maroon 5 gives Snapple fans a great opportunity to do good stuff with the Best Stuff on Earth."
As part of the partnership, Snapple and Maroon 5 will donate $250,000 to Feeding America. Feeding America is a network of more than 200 food banks that serve every community in the United States by distributing food and grocery products through more than 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other emergency feeding centers.
Kraft Foods is also pitching in to support Feeding America with its second season of the Kraft Foods' Huddle to Fight Hunger. Through the campaign, Kraft Foods and several of its brands are on a mission to help donate 25 million meals to Feeding America -- an increase of four million meals from its 2010 record-setting efforts.
Kraft Foods has enlisted high-profile partners and personalities to champion the cause, including dozens of retailers across the country, American Youth Football (AYF), celebrity chefs Pat and Gina Neely, football legend Joe Montana and several other football greats. The program will culminate at the popular Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which will be broadcast live on ESPN from AT&T Park in San Francisco on New Year's Eve. The game will feature Army and a team from the Pac-12.
To reach their aggressive goal, Kraft Foods is rallying communities to join in the Huddle to Fight Hunger on Facebook. For each "Like," Kraft Foods will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to a local Feeding America food bank. In addition, more than 60 retailer partners from coast to coast are huddling to support the campaign and raise additional meal donations for Feeding America via Huddle to Fight Hunger customized programming and in-store displays.
"Huddle to Fight Hunger builds upon three things Americans are passionate about -- football, food and helping others," said Stephen Chriss, senior director, consumer engagement and marketing partnerships, Kraft Foods. "By leveraging our flagship brands, as well as big stages like the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and iconic partners, we hope to inspire America to join our huddle and help us tackle this serious issue."
Pepsico's Propel Zero donated a doghouse signed by spokesperson Cindy Crawford and her celebrity friends to be auctioned off on eBay, beginning on National Dog Day, Aug. 26 through today, Sept. 2. All proceeds earned from the auction will benefit Much Love Animal Rescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being of animals.
The auction marks the second donation from Propel Zero to Much Love, which garnered $20,000 for its organization during the "Propel Zero to 1000" launch in April. The event, which raised awareness for the benefits of an active lifestyle, included a celebrity dog walk led by Cindy Crawford and hundreds of Los Angeles-based dog lovers. During the event, the navy and clear acrylic doghouse was signed by actress Brooke Shields, Maksim Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing with the Stars," and model Joanna Krupa.
"Propel Zero is the only hydration beverage to energize active, inspired men and women, replenish them after their activity and protect them on the go," said Esperanza Teasdale, Propel Zero senior director of marketing. "We're thrilled to be raising funds for Much Love and honoring our furry friends who inspire us to get moving and stay true to the Zero to 1000 pledge."
Consumers can support the fight against breast cancer all year long by purchasing 24-pack cases of Athena Water. A minimum of $1 million related to the sale of Athena will go to support breast cancer awareness, education and research by 2014.
Athena Partners was founded by breast cancer survivor Trish May based on her vision that one person can make a difference with a single bottle of pure water. DS Waters of America Inc. purchased Athena Partners last year and continues to support the brand's original mission.
"We know that Americans want to purchase products that support a cause," explained company CEO Dillon Schickli. "Athena gives everyone the chance to make a difference, with every bottle of water."
Twenty-four pack single-serve cases of 16.9-ounce or 1-liter bottled Athena water are available in 41 states through various retail outlets.