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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:
Circle K Stores Inc.
Throughout November and December, Circle K is partnering with the Red Cross. Customers at Circle K locations on the West Coast and in Florida are encouraged to make in-store donations with their spare change to support the work of the Red Cross.
CST Brands Inc., parent company of Corner Store, recently wrapped up its first-ever signature fundraising event, raising a net total of $1 million in an eight-city 5K fun run series called the Corner Store Country Run.
The course was farm-themed with hay bales, corn stalks and giant inflatable cows and pigs, and participants dressed in Western wear, overalls, cowboy hats, and even a chicken costume.
The Country Run series raised money for Big Brothers Big Sisters in the United States and Canada, and local children’s charities in each of the eight race markets. Revenue came from participant registrations; sponsors such as Oak Farms, Anheuser-Busch and Coca-Cola; and Corner Store customers who donated at the register in participating locations.
The Pantry Inc.’s Kangaroo Express invites customers to participate in its third-annual Kash for Kids campaign in support of Junior Achievement USA, a nonprofit that “brings the real world to students” through hands-on curriculum delivered by a trained classroom volunteer.
Now through Jan. 7, Kangaroo Express is rallying store guests in 107 Kangaroo Express locations across Tennessee, Alabama and north Georgia to make donations in support of the Kash for Kids fundraiser.
The Kroger Co.
Kroger contributed more than $3.3 million to the USO this year. The funds were raised through the company's Honoring Our Heroes sales event in May, and customer contributions collected at checkstands through the summer and fall.
Since 2010, the Kroger family of stores, in partnership with its customers, associates and vendors, has donated a total of $11.8 million to help support the military and their families — the largest cumulative gift to the USO in the organization's history.
Kroger has set aside $100,000 of the donations for customers to decide which of the USO's powerful programs will receive additional support. Customers can visit www.HonoringOurHeroes.com and click "You Choose Kroger Gives" to select from one of the four options and Kroger will donate $1 to the selected program.
Kroger also recognizes company employees and their families who are active and former military members on HonoringOurHeroes.com, where customers can read their stories, learn how to volunteer with the USO or make an individual donation.
Miller Oil Foundation
The Miller Oil Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Miller Oil Co. Inc., distributed nearly $30,000 to charities in the Hampton Roads, Va., area in July.
The record-setting 11 charities awarded grants this year included: St. Mary’s Home, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Edmarc Hospice for Children, Samaritan House, Special Olympics, Cerebral Palsy of Virginia, The Hurrah Players, Virginia Beach Court Appointed Special Advocates, The Community Builders, Lee’s Friends, and The Muse.
The money was raised in part through the Hearts of Hope campaign, which is run through Miller’s Neighborhood Markets in January and February. In addition, the company’s annual Charity Golf Classic and Chairman’s Reception are the largest fundraisers of the year.
Quality State Oil Co.
CITGO marketer Quality State Oil marked a quarter-century of supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) by raising $73,000 through events and promotions in 2014.
The company once again teamed up with CITGO Petroleum Corp., MDA ambassadors and Miss America representatives for in-store campaigns and golf outings to benefit the local Wisconsin chapter of the MDA.
Over the last 25 years, Quality State has raised $1 million in the fight against neuromuscular diseases.