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    Community Service Spotlight: GPM, Speedway & Ricker Oil

    Mondelēz, RAI, Rutter's and S. Abraham 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:

    GPM Investments LLC

    Richmond, Va.-based GPM Investments raised $212,299 in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), almost doubling the amount the convenience store retailer raised in 2014.

    Throughout the month of December, nearly 700 GPM-owned c-stores participated in a MDA fundraiser, in which customers purchased an MDA “icon” at checkout for a $1 contribution. Each customer who purchased an icon received six coupons as GPM’s way of saying thank you for their generosity. All signed icons were prominently displayed in each store.

    GPM executives Arie Kotler, president and CEO, and Chris Giacobone, chief operating officer, presented the check to MDA Goodwill Ambassadors Aaron and JD at an area Fas Mart store. Eight-year-old Aaron is a resident of Culpeper County, Va., and lives with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. JD, a resident of Prince William County, Va., lives with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Both children are supported by services provided by MDA.

    Mondelēz International Inc. 

    Since its inception in 2012, Mondelēz’s Cocoa Life sustainability program has reached 76,700 cocoa farmers in 795 communities, the company stated in its first program progress report.

    Cocoa Life is part of Mondelēz’s Call For Well-Being, a call to action focused on four areas that are critical to the well-being of the world and where the company can make the greatest impact: sustainability, well-being, communities and safety. The program is a long-term, $400-million investment to empower 200,000 cocoa farmers and reach more than one million community members by 2022.

    The progress report provided measurement data from Cocoa Life's first impact evaluation in Ghana, where Cocoa Life began as the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership. Initial results show Cocoa Life farmers' incomes tripled since 2009, which is 49 percent more than the control communities measured. Likewise, cocoa yield increased 37 percent more than the control communities.

    Today, 21 percent of Mondelēz’s cocoa is sustainably sourced, and brands such as Côte d'Or and Marabou now display the Cocoa Life logo.

    Reynolds American Inc.

    Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) and its affiliates donated $10.8 million in 2015 to an array of nonprofit organizations.

    The Reynolds American Foundation donated $5.4 million among the American Red Cross; United Way of Forsyth County, N.C.; Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools; Winston-Salem State University; Salem College; Wake Forest University; Reynolds House Museum of Art; Old Salem; and the Winston-Salem Arts Council. Company employees also contributed nearly $1.2 million of their own money to the United Way of Forsyth County. 

    The American Snuff Charitable Trust — in association with RAI’s Memphis, Tenn.-based American Snuff Co. subsidiary — donated $478,000 to a number of community-based nonprofit organizations throughout 2015. In addition, the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Foundation contributed more than $205,000, with its largest contribution going to the American Indian College Fund.

    On a corporate level, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based RAI and its subsidiaries contributed a combined $3.6 million to nonprofit organizations like youth tobacco prevention programs and Keep America Beautiful. Facilities, industrial land and buildings in Winston-Salem and Robertson County, Tenn., were also donated. 

    Ricker Oil Co.

    Ricker’s convenience stores raised $30,000 for Salvation Army programs and services during this past Christmas season. Ricker Oil founder and Chairman Jay Ricker presented Salvation Army Indiana Commander Major Bob Webster and his wife, Major Collette Webster, with the donation check.

    Ricker’s Saint Joe Road, Fort Wayne, Ind., location raised the most money ($4,963) toward the donation and the Ricker family contributed the final $3,232 to reach the $30,000 goal.

    Rutter’s Farm Stores

    Rutter’s donated more than $235,000 in 2015 to Central Pennsylvania charities, bringing the company’s charitable giving total to more than $5 million in the last 12 years.

    Of the $235,000 donated last year, Rutter’s gave $25,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia areas. Another $25,000 was donated to the York County Food Bank, which used the money for renovations to create increased storage space and provide nutritional education.

    The American Red Cross used Rutter’s $25,000 donation for the Home Fire Relief program that aims to save lives, reduce injuries and cut down on needless losses from home fires in Central Pennsylvania.

    Lastly, Crispus Attucks Association of York received $50,000 to provide education services, human services, community development and affordable housing to York-area residents in need.

    S. Abraham & Sons

    Convenience distributor S. Abraham & Sons (SAS) started off 2015 by selecting two charities of employees’ choosing to sponsor for the year. The selections were the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan, and the Humane Society of Kent County. Money for each charity was collected through the “Jeans for Charity” program that allows employees to wear blue jeans on Fridays throughout the year. Each organization received a check for $1,677.15.

    In December, SAS also donated more than 12,000 candy treats to Santa Claus Girls, a nonprofit that has provided Christmas gifts for children for more than 100 years. SAS has partnered with the nonprofit for more than 50 years.

    SAS employees in its Walker Distribution Center also supported their neighbors in Flint, Mich., during the Flint water crisis by donating seven pallets of water, including liters for drinking and gallons for cooking and bathing. The project was spearheaded by Jeff Berry, a night shift supervisor, and the water was delivered to Flint Michigan Food Bank by SAS driver Ron Wise.

    Speedway LLC

    Through generous donations from customers, vendor partners and employees, Speedway raised $10.3 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This organization raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that treat more than 10 million kids each year.

    Speedway has been a corporate partner of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1991 and has raised more than $78 million for the charity through a variety of initiatives, including canister and Miracle Balloon icon campaigns, bowl-a-thons and employee payroll contribution programs. Speedway also hosts the largest single-day golf fundraising event for the charity, which raised more than $2 million in 2015.

    Additionally, the convenience store and fuel operator’s Speedway Miracle Children Program allows patients from locally supported hospitals to share their stories and relay the importance of why children’s hospitals rely on donations to fund critical treatments and services. A donation made at a local Speedway store directly supports the member hospital in that same community. 

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