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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 Children's Hospital Boston Trauma Program, and the Jimmy Fund through the Red Sox Foundation, each received a $50,000 check from Hess at an on-field presentation at a Red Sox game last week.
Hess Corp. promised to alternate $500 donations to the two institutions for every home run hit during a New England Sports Network (NESN) televised game during the 2011 season. To date, 193 Red Sox home runs have been televised by NESN, and Hess is rounding up its donation to a total of $100,000. With this donation, Hess has donated a total of $410,000 through the Home Run Campaign since its launch in 2008.
"We're delighted to once again lend our support to the Jimmy Fund and Children's Hospital Boston through this year's Home Run Campaign," said Rick Lawlor, vice president, retail marketing, for Hess. "Hess has been part of this community for over a decade, so it means a great deal to us to help two outstanding institutions in their work with children who have serious medical needs."
Smoker Friendly International
In conjunction with The Cigarette Store Corp., Smoker Friendly is supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as its primary charitable cause in 2011 by joining the "Walk to Cure Diabetes" through sneaker sales in its stores. So far this year, the total contribution exceeds $80,000.
Having its best year ever, the stores alone raised $36,669 in a 45-day period. The two top-selling stores were Smoker Friendly/Gasamat locations in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Aurora, Colo., each raising more than $2,000.
To raise money, stores sell paper sneakers for $1 each, or customers can round up their purchase to the nearest dollar. By the end of the campaign, the stores are wallpapered with the paper sneakers.
Smoker Friendly continued its effort in Boulder, Colo., at its two-day Annual Conference and Tobacco Festival in late August with $11,500 in donations from other Smoker Friendly retailers and participating manufacturers. These dollars combined with additional donations throughout the year from The Cigarette Store Corp.
Smoker Friendly has participated in the "Walk to Cure Diabetes" since 2007, and the company said it is very grateful for the dedication of the stores and all who contributed.
Last week, Altria donated $100,000 to American Red Cross chapters in Central Virginia and Eastern North Carolina, enabling them to provide additional support for relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
The Virginia Capital Region Red Cross chapter and the Frederick E. Turnage Red Cross chapter in Eastern North Carolina each received $50,000 to help their localities recover from the recent storm. Earlier this year, Altria provided a $500,000 grant to the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program to ensure that the Red Cross can respond immediately to the needs of people impacted by disasters throughout the United States.
This financial support will help the Red Cross provide much-needed aid to states impacted by Hurricane Irene, including areas of Virginia and North Carolina where many employees and suppliers of Altria's companies live and work.
To coincide with National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the Coca-Cola Co. and Washington Nationals teamed up for the second consecutive year to promote "Live Positively: Get the Ball Rolling." The initiative is designed to educate local youth about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle through proper exercise and nutrition.
As part of Coca-Cola's "Get the Ball Rolling" program in Washington, D.C., the Nationals hosted a youth baseball clinic at Nationals Park last week. Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman joined approximately 300 middle school students for the event, which utilized the entire ballpark to teach batting, fielding and pitching techniques. Following the clinic, Zimmerman talked to participants about the importance of a balanced diet and making smart food choices.
In addition to the Nationals clinic, the Washington Redskins, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics will host a series of clinics throughout the fall for youth living in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Each sports team, in partnership with Coca-Cola, will host a clinic focused on teaching youth the importance of exercise and a balanced diet. Professional athletes will run fitness drills, and nutrition experts will provide information on balanced eating for participants to take home and share with their families.
The D.C.-area alliance began last year with the support of D.C.-area sports teams. Since its launch, the program expanded to New York, partnering with Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers, and to Boston with the Boston Red Sox.
As part of the Dr Pepper Million Dollar Tuition Giveaway, Dr Pepper will give away more than $1 million in tuition money. Dr Pepper fans can submit videos online at www.DrPepper.com to explain why they deserve tuition money and get the chance to compete to win various prize levels, including one of five $100,000 grand-prize scholarships.
Dr Pepper also celebrates past tuition winners throughout the college football season by featuring their faces and stories on limited-edition cans of Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper Cherry and Diet Dr Pepper Cherry, as well as online at www.DrPepper.com and in a national television commercial.
"The Dr Pepper Million Dollar Tuition Giveaway is back and bigger than ever," said Dave Fleming, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. "We've helped change the lives of past winners -- whose stories are featured on limited-edition Dr Pepper cans -- and are excited to expand this year's program, giving even more students the chance to win."
Ten lucky Dr Pepper fans will compete during the halftimes of four conference championship games -- the Dr Pepper ACC Championship, the Big Ten Championship, the Pac-12 Championship and SEC Championship -- as well as the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Selected contest finalists will throw footballs from the five-yard line into a two-foot hole in an oversized Dr Pepper can replica. The Dr Pepper fan at each game that successfully completes the most throws in 30 seconds will win a $100,000 scholarship, with the runner-up taking home a $23,000 scholarship prize.
In addition to the halftime throws, more than 60 videos will be selected to receive instant $2,500 scholarships.
Entry videos will be judged based on the inclusion of Dr Pepper, a college football and tuition theme, the impact of free tuition on the student's life and overall presentation quality. Students who are interested in participating in the giveaway must be aged 18 to 24 and should upload their videos for a chance to compete for $100,000 during a select conference championship game or the Cotton Bowl Classic. Students ages 18 and older can also upload their videos for a chance to win $2,500 in tuition by Dec. 31.
In addition to the video submissions, Dr Pepper will also be giving away tuition money through a number of other retail promotions as part of the Dr Pepper Million Dollar Tuition Giveaway.
Retail technology provider RedPrairie has set a record for the biggest online donation to Feeding America, the nation's leading hunger-relief organization. According to a company announcement, RedPrairie's 2011 donation was the largest online food drive donation made by any company since Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin began hosting online food drives in 2008.
To help feed the hungry, RedPrairie partnered with Feeding America and engaged employees throughout the United States to participate in a three-week online food drive, donating more than $12,000 in cash and food items. With the addition of a RedPrairie company match of $6,300, RedPrairie's total donation exceeded $18,500 and surpassed fundraising totals from previous years. Based on Feeding America's calculation that $100 can create 800 meals, RedPrairie's donation will provide approximately 150,000 meals to families in need.
The donations from the RedPrairie food drive will support Feeding America's network of more than 200 member food banks. Feeding America helps supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors.
To celebrate National Clean Hands Week last week, Georgia-Pacific Professional organized a series of events and activities in Atlanta, its headquarters, that were designed to highlight the importance of proper hand hygiene.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention names hand-washing as the single most effective measure to prevent the spread of disease," said Bill Sleeper, president, Georgia-Pacific Professional Washroom and Wiper Solutions. "It is our hope that this series of events in Atlanta will serve as an example for consumers across the nation and help further extend our message about the personal health and safety benefits of hand-washing."