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    Community Service Spotlight

    A retailer, retail coalition and two oil companies are the latest industry givers.

    JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- 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:

    Valero Energy Corp.

    Volunteers from Valero, including CEO Bill Klesse, served breakfast and gave out backpacks filled with school supplies to 150 kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio. The event was held on the company's front lawn and the supplies were donated by Valero Energy employees.

    The volunteers also filled a San Antonio Food Bank truck with 13,907 pounds of food items, bringing Valero's total since 2008 to 134,873 pounds.

    In a separate summer event, Valero donated $3 million to Feeding America as part of its "Fill Up to Fight Hunger" campaign. Motorists across America participated in their communities by filling up with fuel at participating Valero-branded outlets for the past three months.

    For each 8-gallon fuel purchase made at a participating Valero outlet, the company donated $1 to the local food bank in that area, up to $3 million nationally. The campaign ended on June 30, with the total amount of donations to local food banks depending on the amount of fuel purchased in that area.

    By partnering with Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, Vale

    ro is able to distribute funds to local food banks where Valero does business, the company said. National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees

    This 7-Eleven franchise group helped to raise nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for two of its charitable partners, Hire Heroes USA and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

    "Our ability to give back to these important programs is something that makes each and every member of our 7-Eleven franchisee family very proud," stated Bruce Maples, chairman of the National Coalition. "Committing ourselves to supporting both our military veterans and those individuals and families who have been touched by neuromuscular disease represents the great American tradition of generosity that our owners, their employees, our vendors and our customers are known for."

    During its most successful convention in its 36-year history last month in Las Vegas, the National Coalition presented Hire Heroes leadership with a check for $310,000 to support the organization's transition assistance workshops run at military installations. In concert with 7-Eleven Inc. and nine vendor partners, the National Coalition and its 36 Franchise Owners' Associations raised funds through sales of specific products offered by brand-name companies, which donated a portion of each sale for the program.

    Participating companies included Nestlé USA, Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Dr Pepper-Snapple Group, Tropicana Products Inc., Mars Inc., Kellogg's and Kraft Foods Inc.

    Fees from the Coalition's annual Joe Saraceno Memorial Golf Tournament and donations made from the public also contributed to the total. This donation was the second in a three-year commitment to Hire Heroes, and the largest single-year contribution made to Hire Heroes by the Coalition.

    The National Coalition also presented MDA with a check for $420,000, representing funds raised through a national store-based canister program supported by 7-Eleven Inc, as well as live and silent auctions at the Coalition's annual convention. The contribution represents the long-term partnership between the MDA, the Coalition, its Franchise Owners' Associations, individual franchisees and 7-Eleven Inc.

    Shell Oil Co.

    With a history of working with universities, Shell Oil Co. is giving $2 million to Colorado State University (CSU) to study how to reclaim land after it has been disturbed by oil and natural gas development, primarily in northwest Colorado's Piceance Basin.

    CSU associate professor Mark Paschke has been named the Shell Endowed Chair in Restoration Ecology, continuing a relationship between CSU and Shell Oil that has existed since 1976.

    The money will pay for Paschke's research into how disturbances from oil and gas development change plant communities and how weed-infested disturbed land can be revegetated with the native plants that existed there before the energy companies arrived.

    "After a disturbance, new plants come in and ecological succession takes place," he said. "We try to understand the mechanisms that cause those changes in plant communities over time."

    Paschke said Shell is giving the money to CSU with no strings attached. "They're not going to be reviewing any of our results or commenting on our publications," he said. "What we publish and what we find is not going to be influenced by them."

    Shell has a long history of working with universities to support research, Chandler Wilhelm, Shell onshore exploration manager, said in a statement. "Shell and CSU share the goal of finding new, innovative ways to restore habitats affected by energy development."

    CSU first partnered with Shell 35 years ago to conduct ecological restoration research in the Piceance Basin, an effort renewed in 2008 when they revisited their studies from the 1970s to make recommendations to the energy industry regarding the long-term effects of some approaches to revegetation.

    CITGO Petroleum Corp.

    Along with Maine-based fuel supplier Dysarts Service, CITGO is supporting Tampa-based mobile literacy outreach and past Fueling Good winner, Bess the Book Bus, with a sponsorship of its "2011 Success in Sight Tour."

    Bess the Book Bus will visit more than 44 states through the end of 2011 with a goal of reaching more than 20,000 underserved families and donating 100,000 new books to inspire young minds.

    As part of the ongoing partnership between CITGO and the Bangor, Maine community, Bess the Book Bus made a stop at the Bangor Public Library earlier this month. There, Bess the Book Bus volunteered read to more than 75 children and invited each of them on the Book Bus to pick out a new book of their own.

    Following the library read-aloud, Bess the Book Bus visited a local CITGO station, where she met with customers and gave away books to local children. Local children's book author Angeli Perrow was also in attendance, signing copies of her books for local families. In total, more than 500 books were given away to the community.

    Kev-Lan Korner CITGO also donated more than $100 in support of Bess the Book Bus efforts in Maine and beyond.

    Bess the Book Bus was founded in 2002 by Jennifer E. Frances as a way to promote literacy and provide needy children with access to brand-new books in and around Tampa, Fla.

    On April 28, Frances and two volunteers began their 180-day nationwide tour. They are traveling through 44 states, reading to thousands of children at schools, Head Start initiatives, afterschool programs, homeless shelters, and a wide range of other programs, including unplanned stops along the way, whenever need is identified. After each read-aloud, Frances invites the children onto the bus and helps them choose a brand new book that matches their reading level and interests.

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