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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 highlights these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights:
7-Eleven has partnered with the nonprofit organization TEEM in Oklahoma to create a scholarship program that provides housing and transportation to incarcerated persons when they are released from prison. 7-Eleven contributed $100,000 for the initiative, enough to provide assistance to 200 participants this year.
TEEM Executive Director Kris Steele said the initiative will be a scholarship program, not a loan, and resources in the account will match participant funds up to $500. About 8,400 inmates are released from Oklahoma’s prisons each year.
TEEM uses evidence-based curriculum, one-on-one mentoring, effective case management, occupational skills training, social services assistance and job placement services to reduce recidivism rates, strengthen families and increase public safety.
Alon Brands and its distributors presented Abilene’s Alliance for Women and Children with a check for $30,000 in December. The donation was part of Alon’s 2014 Load-the-Code program, which gave customers a chance to vote for their favorite charities throughout the year using the Alon Load-the-Code mobile app.
Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Abilene community, Alliance for Women and Children received thousands of votes and took first place out of 10 organizations across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The $30,000 donation will be used to renovate the Alliance’s kitchen, giving the organization a place to teach young girls how to cook healthy meals.
Circle K Stores Inc.
The Midwest and Great Lakes Divisions of Circle K Stores helped raise a total of $1,185,000 during their annual March of Dimes Pick-A-Pumpkin campaign in October, bringing Circle K’s nearly two-decade-long sponsorship to a grand total of $9.8 million.
For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
Folk Oil Co.
Folk Oil and its 31 PS Food Mart locations in Toledo, Ohio, and across southcentral Michigan supported a sales campaign to combat hunger during the fifth annual PS Food Mart Kellogg's Pop-Tarts fundraiser. As a direct result of dedicated employee efforts and generous customer contributions, 62,000 Pop-Tarts were donated to more than 40 local charities.
From Oct. 1 through Nov. 2, PS Food Mart customers were encouraged to purchase two individual Pop-Tarts for $1 or one box of Pop-Tarts for $3 to be donated. The recipient organizations were chosen by the manager of each participating PS Food Mart location and included food pantries, churches and afterschool programs.
GPM Investments LLC
GPM’s $1 Million Scratch Card Game began in 2014 and afforded the company the opportunity to simultaneously conduct a contest amongst 13 charities in the North and Southeast. Throughout the duration of the game, customers were invited to vote on their charity of choice. When all the votes were tallied, Pink Heals was the clear winner of the contest and the $20,000 prize.
On Dec. 16, a GPM Scotchman store in Wilmington, N.C., hosted an event in honor of Pink Heals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women who are battling cancer. Pink lemonade and pink doughnuts were served to customers and team members of the charity.
A new scratch game card started in January to give customers another opportunity to win $1 million when they register their scratch card code online at www.win1mm.com.
QuickChek raised $125,000 to help feed hungry families over the holiday season. The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based convenience store chain is a new campaign partner of Check-Out Hunger, an annual fundraiser by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey that takes place every autumn at most major supermarkets and convenience stores throughout New Jersey.
Shoppers at each of QuickChek’s 139 stores helped feed hungry families in their communities by donating $1, $3 or $5 coupons at checkout counters during a six-week period that ended Dec. 12. All of the money raised benefits those in need within the counties QuickChek operates.
QuickChek team members also aided thousands of families in need by volunteering at local community food banks prior to Thanksgiving. Fifty-six volunteers from the company’s headquarters and various stores bagged 1,800 pounds of pasta in a single day, enough to feed 6,200 families, at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside. Twenty-five volunteers from the company’s headquarters and various stores also sorted and boxed a variety of food donations at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley in Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, N.Y.