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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:
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
CITGO and its New England-area partners raised $20,000 for the Red Sox Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to benefit research, youth programs, scholarships and local community support for the organization. Through the CITGO Red Sox spirit pump initiative, which ran from July to October, Red Sox fans and CITGO customers stopped by designated gas stations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine to fill up their tank at Red Sox-branded gas pumps. A portion of their fuel purchase was donated directly to the Red Sox Foundation.
Customers also made donations through "Fuel Change" donation boxes, or received a one-of-a-kind Red Sox Foundation baseball mobile at the register by donating $1 or $5 to support the foundation.
CST Brands Inc.
San Antonio-based CST Brands, parent company of Corner Store, recently wrapped up its third-annual Corner Store Country Run fundraising event, raising a net total of $1.46 million in the 10-city 5K fun race.
The course was farm-themed with hay bales, tractors and giant inflatable cows, pigs and chickens. Participants dressed in Western wear, overalls and cowboy hats.
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 10 race markets. Revenue came from participant registrations; sponsors such as Aquafina, Coca-Cola, Valero and Dr. Pepper/Snapple; and Corner Store customers who donated at the register in participating locations.
GPM Investments LLC
GPM Investments, headquartered in Richmond, Va., recently donated more than $32,500 to the Jeff Gordon Children'’s Foundation, which supports childhood cancer research. During the 2016 Icon Campaign at 161 Village Pantry and Next Door Store convenience stores, $1 donations were collected for a paper icon that features NASCAR veteran Jeff Gordon and Olivia, a child who benefited from the organization's resources.
Over the past 10 years, Village Pantry and Next Door Store convenience stores have raised more than $2 million for the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation.
Growth Energy, alongside major fuel retailers Sheetz Inc., Minnoco, Protec Fuel and Murphy USA, donated $40,465.64 to the American Cancer Society, Hope Chest for Breast Cancer, the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen through its annual Pink Out program. Throughout October, for each gallon of E15 sold, 2 cents were donated to an organization fighting to eliminate breast cancer or help families affected by the disease.
The Pink Out program ran at participating locations, with more than 700 dispensers in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina.
For the 10th consecutive year, OnCue Express participated in the annual St. Jude Halloween Promotion, raising $302,500. During October, OnCue accepted donations of $1 or more for a Halloween-themed pinup donning a St. Jude patient to personalize and display in-store. In total, the c-store operator has raised more than $1.33 million for the organization.
"I'm grateful to be a part of a team that has chosen to help make a difference in the lives of so many families. And when you hear these parents say 'Thank you for saving my child,' or 'Thanks for another Christmas or birthday,' you know the efforts have paid huge dividends," said Greg Webb with OnCue.
Rutter's Farm Stores
Now in its second year, three charities will receive $25,000 each through Rutter's "Vote With Your Dollars" philanthropic program. The winners included the York County Food Bank, Make-A-Wish Great Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and Leg Up Farm.
Rutter's new corporate giving program enables customers to utilize the Rutter's mobile app, website and loyalty program to support local charities and choose the one that appeals most to them. Every dollar they spend at the pumps or inside any Rutter’s store with a registered Rutter's Rewards card or VIP credential counts as a vote toward the customer's selected charity.
Stewart's Shops kicked off its annual Holiday Match fundraising campaign, which runs from Thanksgiving through Jan. 31. All donations made in Stewart's Shops locations from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day are matched by the company with no administrative costs and 100 percent of the contributions distributed to local charities, according to the company.
Holiday Match supports locally based organizations that benefit children 18 and under and be a qualified, 501(c)(3) charity. Organizations can apply through Stewart's website, www.stewartsshops.com.
In the past 30 years, Stewart's Shops has contributed to more than $22 million to thousands of organizations. In 2015, it set a record raising $1.74 million, with checks sent to more than 1,570 children's charities.
Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons partnered with raiseRED to donate 20 iPad mobile digital devices as well as a charging station and MacBook computer to University of Louisville Physicians. Children being treated for cancer and other blood disorders at University of Louisville Physicians will be able to use the devices while receiving treatment to watch movies, play games and keep up with schoolwork.
"We wanted to give something to the Pediatric Center that would have a lasting impact for the children," said Rex Loeffler, local store marketing manager at Thorntons.