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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:
Wilson Farms has teamed up with Meals on Wheels of Syracuse for the eight annual "Step Up to the Plate" fundraising campaign, which supports the homebound elderly and disabled throughout New York.
From Oct. 26 through Nov. 26, customers of Wilson Farms, Sugarcreek and Wilson Farms Xpress stores can donate $1 to receive a paper plate. Each store's collected funds will go to the nearest senior nutrition program.
"We encourage community members to visit their local store to take part," said Mason Kaufman, executive director. "The money raised stays local and helps provide home-delivered meals to homebound seniors."
"Wilson Farms is proud to partner with Meals on Wheels," added Kim Tylec, spokesperson for Wilson Farms. "We know that through the generosity of our customers, we can once again make this campaign a great success."
"Step Up to the Plate" has raised more than $212,000 for Meals on Wheels programs statewide since 2004.
Aloha Petroleum Ltd. recently donated approximately $4,500 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Hawaii Chapter. The organization's mission is to find a cure for the disease and other neuromuscular afflictions.
During August and September, Aloha placed donation canisters in its Aloha Island Mart stores on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. Select Shell gas stations also hosted canisters.
"Our generous customers helped us make this donation to MDA possible," said Gary Altman, general manager of company operated stores, Aloha Petroleum Ltd. "MDA provides a tremendously important service to those suffering from muscular dystrophy, and we're proud to support them."
CITGO Petroleum and its local marketers Parent Petroleum, Graham Enterprises and the Texor Division of World Fuel Services named World Relief Chicago as a CITGO Fueling Good Summer 2011 winner in recognition of its efforts to coordinate legal, educational and employment support for refugees and immigrants. The organization received $5,000 in CITGO gift cards.
"We help newly arrived refugees from the moment they step off the plane, and stay with them throughout the long process of adjusting to and getting settled in a new country," said Nora Brathol, advancement officer for World Relief Chicago. "Not surprisingly, this involves a lot of driving, whether it's to English classes, job interviews, parent-teacher conferences or any of the other services we provide. Knowing that the gas for our support vehicles is taken care of allows us to focus our money and resources on developing our programs further and reaching out to more people in need."
World Relief Chicago has helped resettle more than 15,000 refugees from Africa, Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southern Asia and the former Soviet Union since 1980. Services to immigrants and refugees includes citizenship assistance, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, in-home English tutoring and a wide range of youth and senior programming to help individuals become fully integrated and productive members of their new community.
"It is an honor to recognize and reward World Relief Chicago for its ongoing commitment to our community," said Barry Trilla, senior vice president with the Texor Division of World Fuels Services. "Coming to a new country and adapting to a new culture can be intimidating. The wide-ranging resettlement and employment services offered by World Relief Chicago show recent immigrants that they have someone on their side, ready to help. We are very proud to partner with CITGO in their support of this fantastic charity."
World Relief Chicago is one of 12 campaign winners in the CITGO Summer Fueling Good campaign, selected via online vote from 1,100 nominated charities. More than 100,000 votes were cast to select the winners in Environmental Protection and Restoration; Education and Social Investment; Energy Assistance and Conservation; and Health and Wellbeing categories.
CITGO will announce the next 12 winners in November. Registration for the winter program begins Dec. 1; entries can be submitted at www.fuelinggood.com.
The Coca-Cola Foundation pledged $500,000 to the Atlanta Women's Foundation (AWF) in order to support economic empowerment initiatives impacting Atlanta's women and girls. Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co., announced the donation during his keynote address at "Numbers Too Big To Ignore,"an annual fundraising luncheon for the AWF.
"As we look ahead, women will play a transformative role in shaping our global economy and society over the next decade," said Kent. "The real drivers of the 21st century will be women. They are already the most dynamic and fastest-growing economic force in the world."
The foundation's grant includes $250,000 to support programs to empower girls between the ages of eight and 18 to make positive choices about education, careers and lifestyle, as well as an economic empowerment challenge that will match contributions made to AWF initiatives that help women develop tools and skills needed for economic self-sufficiency dollar for dollar, up to $250,000, through Oct. 27, 2012.
Scotsman Ice Systems
Scotsman Ice Systems, United Refrigeration and Bayshore Equipment jointly donated three new ice machines, including the corresponding bins and water filtration systems, to the Academy of Culinary Arts at Land O' Lakes High School.
"By donating several different types of ice machines to the facility, students will learn the benefits and uses of cube, flake and nugget ice," said Denis Griesmer, vice president sales and marketing, Scotsman Ice Systems. "We are proud to contribute equipment to the Academy of Culinary Arts program, which will prepare high school students for a wide range of employment and education opportunities."
At the Academy of Culinary Arts, students learn food fundamentals and skills in every aspect of the culinary arts and restaurant management. Land O' Lakes celebrated the academy's grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 5.