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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 highlights these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
Casey’s General Stores Inc.
Casey’s General Stores donated nearly 9,000 cell phones to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa to be redistributed to area seniors. The phones will be modified to only call 911 and are available for free to anyone aged 55 or older.
In the past four years of the program, the sheriff’s office has handed out between 200 and 500 phones each year.
E-Z Mart Stores Inc.
E-Z Mart Stores recently held its 23rd annual Jim Yates Memorial Charity Golf Tournament, where approximately $185,000 was raised from the one-day event. The annual fundraising event provides needed monies to numerous worthy charities throughout the communities in which E-Z Mart serves.
Since its inception in 1990, the E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation has contributed in excess of $2.7 million to local charities such as the Komen Race for the Cure, American Heart Association, Domestic Violence Prevention, Opportunities Inc., Women for the Arts, multiple school districts and many other organizations.
The tournament is named in honor of E-Z Mart founder Jim Yates, who headed up the annual golf tournament until his death in 1998.
The Pantry Inc.’s Kangaroo Express raised nearly $2.7 million this summer during its third annual "Salute Our Troops" fundraising campaign. This brings the total raised through Salute Our Troops over the past three summers to $8.4 million.
From Independence Day through Labor Day, Kangaroo Express’ more than 1,550 convenience stores across 13 states invited guests to make donations to the campaign and encouraged communities to share special messages of gratitude to the military. Donations will directly support the USO, helping to lift the spirits of America's troops and their families around the world; the Fisher House Foundation, donating "comfort homes" at major military and VA medical centers that enable military and veteran's families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization; and eight state-based military support organizations.
Salute Our Troops’ presenting sponsor, PepsiCo Inc., was the leading corporate contributor to Kangaroo Express' fundraising goal for the third consecutive year.
The Kroger Co.
The Kroger Co. family of stores, in partnership with key suppliers, committed $3 million in donations for local breast cancer initiatives across the country to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. This marks the seventh year since Kroger began the “Giving Hope a Hand” initiative.
The effort kicked off in stores on Sunday, Sept. 22 and features 21 Kroger associates who are breast cancer survivors on marketing materials and custom packages of national and Kroger corporate-brand products. These women share their survivor stories on the packaging of select items sold exclusively in Kroger's family of stores.
By the end of 2013, Kroger will have donated more than $24 million to support breast cancer research, education and services since 2006.
Kum & Go LC
Kum & Go is joining forces with the American Red Cross to support ongoing disaster relief efforts in Colorado. The convenience store retailer is making a $15,000 donation to help the individuals and communities affected by the recent floods. Kum & Go is also working hard to ensure its stores remain open and stocked in order to meet the needs of customers in affected communities.
Kum & Go’s donation will assist several communities where the Red Cross is operating shelters and providing aid for flood victims, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Greeley, Loveland and Longmont. Kum & Go stores also serve customers in these communities.
Pilot Flying J
Pilot Flying J gave away free gasoline to military personnel in Oak Grove, Ky., on Sept. 14 as part of “Operation Tank Full of Love.” Local volunteers pumped gas for nearly 1,600 veterans, active soldiers and dependents of those who are deployed.
The Oak Grove Pilot travel center gave away more than $32,000 of fuel during Operation Tank Full of Love. This is the third year for this program.
Stripes kicked off its sixth annual March of Dimes cutout campaign, and is encouraging customers to make a small donation that will have a big impact. By donating at least $1 for a March of Dimes paper cutout, people can help fund programs that allow moms to have healthy, full-term pregnancies and stronger, healthier babies.
In the last five years, Stripes has raised more than $2.6 million for March of Dimes. This year, it hopes to raise $500,000 and pass the $3 million mark.