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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 in the convenience 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:
A total of $130,000 worth of donations will soon be given to four Central Pennsylvania community organizations.
Rutter's is donating $50,000 to the York County Public Library system so that it can provide two years of free Internet access. "The Internet is not as much of a luxury as it is a necessity these days," said Scott Hartman, Rutter's CEO. "We want to help people stay connected and provide access to those who may not have a computer, or have had to give up Internet access in their home because of economic struggles. We also know the Internet is a valuable tool for those searching for work."
In addition, the newly-formed Rutter's Scholar Program at York College of Pennsylvania will receive $25,000. The funds will be used to award academic scholarships for students to attend York College's high school affiliate, York Country Day School.
The final $30,000 will be given to Junior Achievement of Central PA. The donation will be earmarked for the "Going Green" initiative designed for fourth-grade students and Planet Earth, a new program that is a simulated business managed by students and which focuses on the environment.
The convenience store chain issued a $100,000 Small Business Challenge grant that will be match all first-time gifts by businesses with fewer than 50 employees in the Tulsa, Okla., area.
The grant is intended to raise funds for the Tulsa Area United Way. "The thinking is to create additional incentives for people to jump in, get involved, help others and help the community," Mark Graham, president and CEO of the Tulsa Area United Way, told the Tulsa World. "They work phenomenally well. People enjoy taking their $1 and turning it into $2. Last year, with the same types of challenges, the contributions were leveraged almost three times."
The Tulsa Area United Way serves more than 726,000 people annually via its 61 partner agencies.
The petroleum provider and DonorsChoose.org announced the kickoff of the second annual "Fuel Your School" promotion where customers in the Salt Lake City area will have the opportunity to help generate up to $500,000 in funds for classroom projects in local public schools during October.
All consumers need to do is fill up with eight gallons or more of gas from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 at participating Chevron and Texaco stations in Salt Lake and Davis counties. For each eight-gallon fill-up, Chevron will donate $1 to help fund classroom projects.
"It is not news that every state in the nation, including Utah, has made painful spending cuts in education," said Larry K. Shumway, Utah's State Superintendant of Public Instruction. "Chevron's Fuel Your School promotion offers help in these critical times. The six districts in Salt Lake and Davis counties will benefit greatly as Chevron pumps up to $500,000 in underfunded classrooms."
Woodbridge (N.J.) High School students have a new science laboratory thanks to a $500,000 donation from the petroleum company. The lab overhaul yielded a bright room outfitted with state-of-the-art tables with hot and cold running water and a mechanism that can raise and lower the surface.
"This is the type of thing we like to do. Health and education are what we focus on," Borden Walker, president of marketing and refining for Hess, told the Woodbridge Patch.
Two Woodbridge High students, Quentin Ferraris and Jordyn Stanley, were really pleased with Hess' donation. Everything was falling apart and stuff was missing at the old lab, Stanley told the website. "Sometimes you didn't even get to do experiments," he said.
The retail chain committed $3 million in donations to local breast cancer awareness initiatives to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month, which begins on Saturday.
In addition to the donations, Kroger launched its "Giving Hope a Hand" campaign on Sept. 25. It features 53 Kroger associates who are breast cancer survivors and share their stories on packaging of select items sold exclusively in Kroger stores.
"We are honored that so many of our courageous associates are willing to share their experiences as breast cancer survivors," said David B. Dillon, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "Their inspirational stories educate and encourage others to better care for each other and their own health."
At the end of this year, Kroger will have donated a total of $18 million to support breast cancer research since 2006.
Six Crawfordsville, Ind.-area charities received a total of $35,000. Only charities dealing with children were eligible. Valero employees had the opportunity to select where the funds would go.
Receiving checks ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 were the Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery County, Mountie Masson Inc., Montgomery County Youth Services Bureau, Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club of Tippecanoe County, Helping Challenged Children Inc. of Indianapolis and Racers Christmas for Kids Inc. of Terre Haute.
According to the Journal Review, the six charities shared a meal and received their checks from Valero at the Crawfordsville Country Club on Sept. 22. "It's a feel-good day," Lisa Cooper, a Valero committee member, told the newspaper. "It makes us all fell very good to be able to help out in this way."
The tobacco giant awarded nearly $2.6 million in grants to nonprofit companies based in communities where Altria's companies have manufacturing facilities. Through its Altria Companies Employee Community Fund (ACECF), employees selected the grant recipients from nearly 250 proposals. One hundred-thirteen nonprofits received grants.
"Altria's employees are committed to making a difference in their communities," said Jennifer Hunter, chairperson of the ACECF board of directors. "This year, the ACECF has expanded its reach to Altria companies' plant communities along with continued support for Altria's headquarters home of Richmond."
The ACECF was founded in 2000 because Altria employees wanted to be more actively involved in helping local communities.
Employees of the beverage giant across the United States yesterday took part in PepsiCo Feeds America, a national day of service. More than 1,000 PepsiCo employees at more than 35 Feeding America network food banks joined together to raise awareness of the problem of hunger.
Volunteers prepared care packaged to help Feeding America provide food for thousands of individuals and families in need. More than 250,000 pounds of food and beverage donations were allocated to Feeding America, including Quaker Oatmeal, Frito-Lay snacks and Aquafina water. Yesterday, PepsiCo employees logged a combined 6,000 hours of community service.
"PepsiCo is proud to support the efforts of Feeding America," said Greg Willis, a vice president and general manager of PepsiCo Sales. "PepsiCo employees display incredible passion for serving their local communities and this national day of service is a great opportunity to apply their passion in ways that will help our neighbors in need."