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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:
The Pantry's Kangaroo Express presented a $159,000 donation to the St. Augustine-based Florida National Guard Foundation last week. The funds were raised as part of the Salute Our Troops fundraising campaign at Kangaroo Express, and will be used to support members with a new rehabilitation pool.
More than 90 percent of the funds raised are attributed to incremental $1 donations made at Kangaroo Express checkout counters. The most recent national 100-day fundraiser raised $2.5 million, which more than doubled the company's original goal of $1 million.
Haitian Students Parents Solidarity Association (HSPSA) is one of 12 winners in the CITGO Fueling Good summer program. Recognized by CITGO and local Marketer, Consumers Petroleum, for its ongoing efforts to provide much needed emergency relief for children in Haiti, the non-profit organization has been awarded $5,000 in CITGO gift cards to help extend its Ripple of Good and the impact of its work.
"The Fueling Good prize means the world to our members and volunteers. It will have a major impact in our international operations to help those in need," said Garry Paulemon, president of HSPSA. "Through the generosity of Consumers Petroleum and CITGO, we can help even more children have the basic needs that many of us take for granted: food and education."
Doug Spirtt of Trumbull, Conn.-based Consumers Petroleum, added: "It is an honor to recognize HSPSA for its ongoing efforts to support the growth and success of the children of Haiti. It's inspiring to see members of our community doing good deeds for those less fortunate thousands of miles away. I hope that other people across Connecticut will be inspired to give back to not only their own communities, but to nations stricken with natural disasters."
The HSPSA of West Haven is one of 12 CITGO Summer Fueling Good campaign winners selected from more than 1,100 charities through a nationwide online vote. More than 100,000 votes were cast to help identify the latest winners in one of four categories: Environmental Protection and Restoration; Education and Social Investment; Energy Assistance and Conservation; and Health and Wellbeing.
Voting for the fall 2011 Fueling Good program comes to a close on Oct. 27, and the next 12 winners will be announced in November. Registration for the winter program begins Dec. 1.
Little General Stores
Remember The Miners, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring coal miners and their legacy, partnered with Little General Stores during the 32nd Annual Bridge Day in New River Gorge, W.Va. "Little General is excited to join with Remember the Miners at Bridge Day," stated Greg Darby, president of Little General. "As one of the largest tourist events in West Virginia, it is a perfect time to showcase the proud tradition of mining coal in West Virginia and the pride Little General has in our coal mining families. Once again, we are honored to join with Remember the Miners on important work that matters to the Little General family, our customers and the people of West Virginia."
Bridge Day is the largest extreme sports event in the world, held annually on the third Saturday in October in Fayette County, W.Va. Hundreds of BASE jumpers and nearly 80,000 spectators attend the event.
Little General has been a supporter of Remember The Miners in multiple efforts this year, including a generous donation to the Scholars Program, becoming the point of sale for Remember The Miners' awareness coal miner helmet magnets, and hosting a series of Awareness Concerts.
Royal Buying Group
This national organization dedicated to maximizing sales at c-stores and other retailers opened its 19th annual scholarship program for applications. The Royal Buying Group (RBG) Scholarship Program is available to eligible candidates that are high school seniors or graduates who are planning to, or are enrolled at, an accredited two- or four-year college or university in the United States that will lead to an academic degree.
Eligible candidates include Royal Buying Group members and/or their children. All RBG affiliations are eligible, including Shell Buying Club, Sinclair Rebate Program, Tesoro VIP Club, TETCO Advantage, Irving Oil Buying Club, Lavigne Baker VIP Club, Connect-2-One, Club, Smoker Friendly, Pace Alliance and NATSO participating locations.
To date, RBG has given out 18 scholarships to students that are part of its membership.
The Hershey Co.
Enhancements have been made to Hershey's CocoaLink mobile phone network that includes disease prevention, cell phones for women farmers and solar chargers for rural villages. The new features include:
• a partnership with the respected nonprofit organization Malaria No More to leverage CocoaLink's connection to rural cocoa villages to help save lives. Malaria No More is part of a global effort that seeks to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.
• an internal smartphone recycling program, collecting more than 500 smartphones no longer being used by Hershey's U.S. employees. The phones will be redeployed to women across Ghanaian cocoa communities by the end of the year to bridge a gender gap in mobile handset ownership.
"CocoaLink: Connecting Cocoa Communities" is a unique farmer outreach program developed by The Hershey Co., the World Cocoa Foundation and the Ghana Cocoa Board. CocoaLink is a first-of-its kind program that uses mobile voice and SMS text messages delivered in local languages or English to connect cocoa farmers with important information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labor, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production and crop marketing.
Since its launch in July, CocoaLink community trainers have already enrolled more than 2,500 farmers, putting the program on track to directly reach more than 8,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers and community members by next year.