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    Community Service Spotlight: BP, Thorntons & CITGO

    Rutter's, VERC, Tedeschi and Turkey Hill also among givers.

    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: 

    BP America Inc.

    BP America donated $25,000 to Cocky’s Reading Express, the statewide literacy outreach program of the University of South Carolina (USC). The program promotes reading across South Carolina schools through regular visits from USC students and the university’s mascot.

    BP’s Cooper River facility has been serving this community for nearly 40 years, according to Hope Lanier, BP’s government affairs representative for the Southeast. The company has donated more than $150,000 to the program, with past donations being used to purchase children’s books, literacy materials and operational expenses. The largest donation was used to pay for the bus used to transport Cocky and student volunteers to schools and communities statewide.

    Cocky’s Reading Express primarily serves students in 4K through second grades, and its priority has been reaching students in underserved public schools.

    CITGO Petroleum Corp.

    In 2014, local CITGO marketers in Wisconsin — including Saunders Oil Co., Condon Oil Co., Quality State Oil, Garrow Oil, Van Zeeland Oil, Frawley Oil, US Venture and Lakeside Oil Co. — raised more than $444,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

    Last year, Condon Oil, Quality State Oil and Saunders Oil held their annual golf outings across the state, featuring prize raffles and live and silent auctions. MDA Muscle Team events hosted by Condon Oil, Frawley Oil, US Venture and Lakeside Oil also drew local, state and national athletes together to support the cause. Garrow Oil held its inaugural Toast to Life Gala in Appleton, Wis., where 170 attendees enjoyed beverage tastings and live auctions.

    All the funds raised during these events support programs for local Wisconsin families living with neuromuscular diseases. CITGO is the largest corporate sponsor for MDA, raising more than $170 million over the past 28 years through its network of independent marketers, employees and corporate contributions.

    Rutter’s Farm Stores

    For the 10th year, volunteers from Rutter’s and Support Our American Recruits (SOAR) packed Valentine’s Day goodie boxes to be shipped to American troops stationed abroad. The boxes are filled with snacks, chewing gum, coffee and magazines donated by local suppliers like Hershey’s, UTZ Snacks, Martin’s Chips, Harrisburg News, S&D Coffee, Con-Agra Foods and Chase-Goldenberg, as well as handmade Valentine cards from area school children and senior citizens. Each box is sent to a local soldier serving overseas.

    Rutter’s also recently donated an additional $150,000 to seven area schools, bringing the company’s total charitable donations to more than $793,000 for 2014. Last year, Rutter’s donated $580,000 in scholarship money to 21 schools in the six central Pennsylvania counties in which the company operates. This was the third round of donations made by Rutter’s to local schools to provide tuition assistance and scholarships to eligible students.

    Tedeschi Food Shops Inc.

    Through Jeans for Charity, a program that collects donations when employees wear jeans on Fridays, Tedeschi's employees have contributed to local and national nonprofit organizations for several years. In the past, Tedeschi donations have gone to the Friendship Home, St. Vincent DePaul, the Women’s Place Crisis Center and Homes for the Troops.

    Throughout 2014, Tedeschi supported the Life is Good Playmakers Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with front-line child care providers to ensure that children who have experienced trauma in their lives are identified and engaged through play therapy, with a $8,000 donation. The company also supported a toy drive through the South Shore YMCA by purchasing new toys for needy children.

    Thorntons Inc.

    Thorntons is continuing its “Thorntons Challenge” philanthropic commitment to breast cancer awareness in partnership with Norton Cancer Institute this year. The partnership provides mobile unit mammogram screenings to women aged 40-75 who have not been screened in the past year. 

    Screenings are available to women medically insured, whose insurance companies will be billed a co-pay for the low-cost screening, but will not be collected at the time of the exam. Funding will be provided for no-cost screenings for uninsured women. Additionally, Thorntons donates a $100,000 grant annually to Norton Cancer Institute.

    Turkey Hill Minit Markets

    Turkey Hill Minit Markets donated more than $102,000 to the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation. This donation included funds raised for the foundation during Turkey Hill’s 2014 Charity Golf Outing, which took place Sept. 19 at Meadia Heights and Tanglewood Manor Golf Courses in Lancaster County, Pa.

    VERC Enterprises

    VERC recently partnered with Gulf and raised $5,979 for breast cancer research during the Strides Against Breast Cancer five-mile walk, held Oct. 5 at the Hatch Shell in Boston. A team of 25 employees, friends and family represented VERC at the fundraising event. 

    Two weeks prior to the event, the retailer placed donation canisters for the organization in each of its locations and the total $5,979 raised resulted from canister donations, online contributions to Team VERC and cash donations collected by employees.

    Additionally, VERC raised $825 for Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit that builds specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for the most severely injured veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout Thanksgiving week (Nov. 24-30), VERC donated $1 to Homes for Our Troops for each 5-Hour Energy product sold at its locations.

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