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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:
Cumberland Farms kicked off a new Pediatric Care Campaign on Jan. 30. During the months-long initiative, the c-store chain will donate five cents per cup of coffee or Chill Zone beverage sold to benefit pediatric care programs at five hospitals in upstate New York and New England.
Other hospitals in different regions will also benefit from the donations for the duration of the campaign. In February, stores in New Hampshire and Vermont will donate to Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock; in March, Maine stores will donate to Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in Portland, Maine; in May, eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island stores will donate to Children's Hospital Boston; in June, southwestern Massachusetts and Connecticut stores will donate to Connecticut Children's Medical Center; and in July, upstate New York and western Massachusetts stores will donate to the Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center.
"All of us at Cumberland Farms recognize that young people are a precious gift and our future. We have an opportunity to reach thousands of young people in the communities we serve. We hope that our contribution, along with the help of our customers, will make a difference in their lives," Cumberland Farms Retail President Ari Haseotes said.
Stores will announce the total amount of money raised on a weekly basis during the fundraiser. Customers can locate the nearest participating Cumberland Farms at cumberlandfarms.com/FindaStore.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), South Central Texas Chapter will continue its quest to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes with a $206,385 donation from TETCO.
"TETCO has been such an amazing partner with JDRF and the Walk to Cure Diabetes since its inception," said Shannon Nisbet, JDRF, South Central Texas Chapter's executive director. "They have raised more than $800,000 for us since 2005, which places them at the top of local funders of the Walk to Cure Diabetes. Their leadership and commitment is unparalleled."
TETCO raised the funds in September during its 2011 Sneaker Campaign. Customers at TETCO stores in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, as well as customers at Walker's Stores in Utah, could purchase a paper sneaker for $1 when paying for their purchases. All proceeds went to JDRF.
"TETCO has sponsored the Sneaker Campaign for years because I am a juvenile diabetic, so this cause is close to me and my family," said Jon Turner, TETCO's vice chairman. "I've also seen a lot of kids who have Type 1 diabetes when I was on the board of JDRF, and we want to help find a cure for all kids."
The American Red Cross named Wawa its No. 1 corporate sponsor for 2011. The c-store chain helped to generate more than 4,700 units of blood for the Red Cross blood program last year. Those blood donations were distributed to more than 14,200 hospital patients.
"I want to thank the entire Wawa family for helping to save lives in our community each and every day, and for turning many of their faithful customers and colleagues into lifesaving blood donors," said Brigid O'Neill LaGier, CEO of the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region.
Wawa CEO Howard Stoeckel said the retailer's long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross is one of the most meaningful ways it contributes to its communities. "We are so proud of our associates' efforts to host blood drives throughout the year, to volunteer their time and to donate blood."
Wawa has hosted 584 American Red Cross blood drives over the past eight years, collecting more than 21,000 units of blood to save approximately 65,000 lives, according to the Red Cross.
The Spinx Co. named the American Red Cross Greenville Chapter, Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County, Julie Valentine Center, Junior Achievement Upstate, Loaves & Fishes and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas as the beneficiaries of its 2012 Spinx Charity Classic presented by Corporate Benefits Inc.
"There are so many great non-profit organizations in this area, so it was a difficult selection process. These six organizations meet the Spinx mission, which focuses on improving the health, education and well-being of children," said Spinx CEO Stewart Spinks. "We're looking forward to partnering with each of them through the Spinx Charity Classic."
The charitable golf tournament will take place on Tuesday, May 1 at private greensChanticleer and Riverside Courses in Greenville, S.C. A private pairings party held the night before in downtown Greenville will kick off the event. After the tournament, an awards ceremony will honor the first-, second- and third-place winners for each course.
Public registration for individuals and four-person teams is available for purchase at www.myspinx.com. Participants will receive gift bags, food and beverages.
Fas Mart and Shore Stop
GPM Investments LLC, operator of the Fas Mart and Shore Stop convenience store chains, donated $10,000 to the Central Virginia Food Bank and $10,000 to the Food Bank of Delaware through BP's Fueling Communities grant program. The funds will support the BackPack Program, which supplies healthy, non-perishable, child-friendly meals over weekends, school breaks and summers.
More than 2,000 children in 13 low-income central Virginia communities received nearly 400,000 meals in 2011, while the Delaware Food Bank donated more than 55,000 backpacks during the same time. Both organizations are expected to increase the amount of their donations in 2012.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to work with BP and its Fueling Communities grant program to support such great charitable organizations that help at-need children in our community," said Rick Klyczek, vice president of marketing at Fas Mart. "Connecting with our local communities is a core strategy of our brand and we look forward to continuing to find ways to support similar charitable organizations in the future."
The BP Fueling Communities program provides grants to local charities that are nominated by local BP business owners in order to support the communities in which they operate.
This spring, four MA'O Organic Farms interns from Wai'anae, Hawaii, will receive associate of arts degrees from Leeward Community College through the MA'O Youth Leadership Training College Internship program, which Aloha Petroleum Ltd. supports in the form of fuel expense offsets. Eleven other interns who received funds have graduated over the last three years.
"Not only is MA'O Organic Farms a local organization, but it's also committed to the well-being and success of Hawaii's youth," said Aloha Petroleum's CEO and President Richard Parry. "When you consider the way that MA'O operates, providing a nurturing and learning environment for students, you see that we're not just supporting a non-profit organization or charity -- we're really investing in our community and in Hawaii's future."
Aloha has provided monthly fuel expense offsets to MA'O since 2008, allowing the organization to operate on a level playing field with local competitors and create educational opportunities for students without enough resources to pursue a college education, the company said.
"Aloha Petroleum's support for MA'O Organic Farms has played a fundamental role in our ability to remain competitive in this challenging economy," said Kamuela Enos, MA'O's community director. "Instead of allocating funds to fuel costs, we're able to reinvest in the farm and enhance our developmental programs such as the Youth Leadership Training Program. We like to say we're 'powered by Aloha -- the fuel and the spirit.'"
North Carolina Petroleum & Convenience Marketers Association
North Carolina Petroleum & Convenience Marketers Association officials presented the North Carolina National Guard's Soldiers and Airmen's Assistance Fund (SAAF) with a $18,447 donation at the association's headquarters on Jan. 4. The fund assists North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) members and their families who face severe financial challenges.
C-store chain Han-Dee Hugo's, owned by the Sampson-Bladen Oil Co., collected donations from their customers and staff for the fund. "In our company, we believe in giving back to the community; you needed help and we were there," said Rogers H. Clark, president and CEO of Han-Dee Hugo's. "I have got to thank the ones in the store," he added.
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Iwan Clontz, deputy director for NCNG, accepted the donation on behalf of the fund and nearly nearly 12,000 Guard members deployed throughout the state. "What you have done guarantees our fund's longevity," said Clontz.
In return, Clontz presented Clark with an art print of the "Battle of Baqubah" by artist Don Stivers that documented the clash between soldiers of Company A, 120th Combined Arms Battalion and a large enemy force in Iraq that took place at dawn on June 24, 2004. He also presented Haddon Clark, general manager of the Sampson-Bladen Oil Co., with an eagle head statue.
"It is very humbling; it was the least we could do," said Clark. "It should be the Guard that is honored; you deploy away from family and go in harm's way."
The Pantry's Kangaroo Express donated $30,000 to three separate school districts through BP's Fueling Communities program. Charleston County School District, Hamilton County Department of Education and Wake County Public School System will each receive $10,000, which will support 10 schools per district.
"This $10,000 donation will go a long way for schools in Wake County," said Anthony J. Tata, superintendent of the Wake County Public School System. "We are grateful to Kangaroo Express and BP for their donation to our great school system. I am personally eager to watch as this donation helps our schools fund projects that will better the educational environment for our students."
Check presentations for the schools will take place at special events during February and March.