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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:
Love's Travel Stops
During its five-week fundraising campaign, Love's Travel Stops raised $1.1 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the country -- a record for the company. More than 270 Love's locations nationwide contributed by selling paper donation hearts in the amounts of $1, $5 and $20. Many Love's stores also organized local events to raise money including bake sales, car washes, softball tournaments, motorcycle rallies and grand-prize raffles.
"Our location growth and the tremendous enthusiasm of our store teams have enabled us to increase our contribution to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals by nearly 15 percent over last year," said Jenny Love Meyer, communications director for Love's. "We thank our customers for supporting our campaign every year, and we appreciate our dedicated employees for the amazing work they do to raise money for their local children's hospitals."
Through the Children's Miracle Network Hospital program, all money raised at each Love's location supports the nearest Children's Miracle Network Hospital. This is Love's 13th year supporting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals with a fundraising campaign. The company has donated more than $5.5 million through the years.
The application period for the sixth annual Believe and Achieve Scholarship program is open again at Cumberland Farms until Dec. 15. High school seniors living within 30 miles of a Cumberland Farms location and planning to attend college next fall are eligible to receive a scholarship of $1,000 from the c-store chain.
"It is important that we support educational opportunities for young people "said Ari Haseotes, president of Cumberland Farms' retail division. "The Believe and Achieve scholarship is our investment to the next generation of community leaders.
Since its inception, Cumberland Farms has awarded more than $500,000 to talented and ambitious high school graduates across its service area. With the help of the scholarship, students offset a variety of expenses including tuition, books, and room and board.
Kum & Go
For every purchase of a 20- or 24-ounce Java Ridge coffee, cappuccino or hot chocolate this month, Kum & Go will donate 10 cents to Toys for Tots. The chain said it is offering customers the chance to turn their everyday purchase into a little extra hope for children in need this season.
Through Dec. 31, PepsiCo is asking consumers to "check in" to their local 7-Eleven stores across the United States and purchase a 20-ounce trademark Pepsi product, with the proceeds going to Feeding America.
Pepsi trademark brands, including Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi MAX and Pepsi Throwback, will donate 5 cents for each 20-ounce purchased, up to $250,000, at any U.S. 7-Eleven location. Consumers can double Pepsi's donation to 10 cents when they check in to their local 7-Eleven through Facebook.
Throughout this month, MillerCoors and its participating convenience retailers will ask guests to donate $1 or more in exchange for a pumpkin-shaped pinup they can personalize to support the 20th Annual St. Jude Halloween Promotion, which raises funds to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Since the program began in 1992, MillerCoors, its distributors and retailers have raised more than $52 million, $1 at a time, for the children of St. Jude.
"For 20 years, we have been proud to support the phenomenal work done by St. Jude," said Bryce McTavish, senior vice president of channel marketing for MillerCoors. "In partnership with our more than 500 distributors across the country who bring the Halloween program to life in their markets, we have helped raise millions for St. Jude. This program continues to bring a great response from our retailers and consumers, and we look forward to our biggest and best year ever in 2011 to commemorate this 20th anniversary."
National partners in the convenience channel include Casey's General Store, Hess Corp. and E-Z Mart.
In other MillerCoors news, the application deadline has been extended to the end of the month for the MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series (MUES), which provides aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to win a portion of $150,000. Aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to submit their business plans by Friday, Oct. 28 at noon CST.
The MUES competition is open to participants aged 21 and older whose business enterprise is not older than five years. All entries must be submitted to www.MillerCoorsMUES.com. Winners can also potentially become a qualified MillerCoors supplier.
"At MillerCoors, we know that jobs are needed to build great communities. We want to do our part to empower small business development, which is helping to drive our economy," said Larry Waters, director of multicultural relations for MillerCoors. "The MUES program is a resource for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. Through this competition, entrepreneurs compete for much-needed capital to fuel and grow their businesses."
Several business organizations support the MUES program, including the Atlanta Business League, the Chicago Urban League, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Dallas, the National Association of Asian American Professionals, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and additional local chambers and chapters of the Urban League.