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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:
For the three days before Thanksgiving, Buffalo, N.Y.-area 7-Eleven stores invited customers to help put food on the tables of their less fortunate neighbors through its “pay-it-forward” with pizza campaign, whereby pizzas were donated for $5.55 each.
Pizzas purchased at 7-Eleven stores in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties were sent to the Food Bank of Western New York. A total of 87 7-Eleven locations participated in the “pay-it-forward” with pizza campaign.
While 7-Eleven pizzas are typically baked at the store and served hot to customers, the donated pizzas were kept frozen until recipient families or organizations chose to prepare them.
In an earlier 7-Eleven donation, more than 3,600 pizzas were donated to food bank programs.
The CHS Foundation, the major giving entity of Cenex parent CHS Inc., contributed $250,000 to Kansas State University's Center for Risk Management Education and Research, which engages students and industry partners in innovative education and research.
The center is a joint effort of faculty and students from K-State's Colleges of Agriculture, Business Administration, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences. Additional partners from across the campus also participate.
In a separate effort, CHS expanded its commitment to furthering agricultural education through a gift of $225,000 to the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA).
IFAMA, an international management organization based in Washington, D.C., brings together current and future business, academic and government leaders, along with industry stakeholders to improve food and agribusiness systems globally.
The $225,000 gift will make CHS a premier sponsor of IFAMA's 2015 World Forum and Symposium, to be held June 14-18 in Minneapolis. The five-day forum will include interactive discussions and presentations that address global nutritional security.
Kwik Trip Inc.
In Kwik Trip stores across Wisconsin, customers were invited to purchase a Polar Plunge paper icon for $1 each in November to help transform the lives of Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes.
In addition to improving each athlete’s health and fitness, Special Olympics gives athletes the confidence and skills needed to land a job. Kwik Trip employs several Special Olympics athletes.
Kwik Trip has been a Special Olympics mission partner for more than 15 years, providing support through icon sales, the Polar Plunge and state tournaments. In 2013, Kwik Trip customers raised $125,484. These funds provided year-round programming in sports, health, education and community-building for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Rutter’s Farm Stores
In early November, Rutter’s gave $200,000 to 12 preschools to fund scholarship opportunities for children throughout south central Pennsylvania. Later in the month, it also committed to donating an additional $230,000 to 10 area schools to provide tuition to eligible students.
These donations raised Rutter’s year-to-date 2014 contribution to local charities to more than $634,000, and more than $4.36 million since 2003.
Stripes Convenience Stores
Stripes recently began its second annual in-store fundraising campaign for the Stripes College Scholarship Fund, inviting customers to participate by donating as little as $1. Participating customers receive a recognition cutout displayed in the store, along with a free 12-ounce Slush Monkey coupon and a buy-one-get-one-free, regular-size Snickers candy bar.
The monthlong in-store fundraising campaign is being held at all Stripes locations and will end Dec. 31. The scholarship awards will be selected and managed by the participating community colleges and universities enrolled in the program.
Last year, Stripes raised $545,000 and awarded 545 local college students with a $1,000 scholarship each. This year’s goal is to raise $600,000 to award 600 students in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma with $1,000 scholarships. All proceeds raised from the in-store campaign will be distributed to students in the 2015-2016 academic year. Stripes is underwriting all administrative costs to run the scholarship program.
In other company giving news, Stripes presented $10,000 to Texas Operation Military Kids (TOMK) during a new store grand opening held in late November in Killeen, Texas. The amount presented was a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the limited-edition Red Bull Camo Can, sold earlier this year at all Stripes locations from July 28 through Sept. 28.
TOMK is the U.S. Army’s collaborative effort with the National Guard, Army Reserves and statewide communities to support children and youth impacted by deployment. Its goal is to connect military children and youth who are geographically dispersed with local resources in order to achieve a sense of community support and enhance their well-being.
Additionally, Stripes awarded 20 Texas public elementary schools $200 each to teach students about fresh vegetables through the Stripes Fresh Learning Garden grant program. Each grant includes $200 for supplies; a garden kit consisting of educational coloring books for each student, and garden seed packets to make Laredo Taco Co. salsa (jalapeno, tomato, cilantro and onion); a “Get a Fresh Start” teachers’ appreciation breakfast party; and Stripes coupons for the students and staff.
The Stripes Fresh Learning Garden program is designed to be a hands-on experience to help students understand where food comes from and learn the value of using fresh foods.