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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:
ConAgra Foods Inc.
ConAgra Foods announced the winners of its 2015 Sustainable Development Awards, an internal awards program that drives and rewards innovative approaches to sustainability and produces business results. The company started the program in 1992 to encourage and reward employees for finding ways to eliminate waste, save water and reduce energy through process innovation and engagement.
This year, the winning projects delivered more than $70 million in savings. In fact, this year’s applications amounted to the largest single-year savings the company has seen to date. Winning teams are each awarded a $5,000 grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation to apply toward a sustainability-focused community service project in their area.
The 82 entries collectively received this year:
- Eliminated waste by 58,700 tons;
- Optimized and improved packaging, while using 15 million pounds less material;
- Conserved more than 97 million gallons of water; and
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 11,500 metric tons.
GPM Investments LLC
GPM raised $118,921 through its recent Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) campaign. During the month of December, GPM’s more than 460 convenience stores participated in the fundraiser in which customers purchased an MDA “icon” at checkout. Each time a customer purchased a $1 icon, they received six store coupons as GPM’s way of saying thank you. All signed icons were then prominently displayed in each store.
On Feb. 23, GPM executives joined together at a Richmond-area Fas Mart store and presented the check to MDA executives and Goodwill Ambassador Aimee Phelps, a 5-year-old who has the neuromuscular disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy and is supported by services provided by the Richmond MDA office.
Carroll County Public Library (CCPL) received 1,500 Subway Read a Book certificates and 1,500 coupon sheets featuring eight Subway coupons from Jiffy Mart, a division of Tevis Oil Inc. Read a Book certificates award readers a Subway Fresh Fit Kids Meal. These items are given to participants of CCPL’s Battle of the Books program and have a retail value of more than $6,000.
The purpose of the Battle of the Books program, in partnership with Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS), encourages reading among students in grades 4-8, while highlighting Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan award books that are selected by school media specialists to introduce students to quality literature representing a variety of viewpoints.
CCPL anticipates that 1,500 students from all over Maryland's Carroll County will participate in this year’s Battle of the Books program, and more than 4,000 parents, family members and friends are expected to attend the nine battle events from now through May.
Additionally, Jiffy Mart donated $4,000 to the Center for Breast Health to benefit breast cancer patients at Carroll Hospital Center. Jiffy Mart raised the money during a monthlong fundraiser held at all four store locations in October. The Finksburg, Hampstead and Westminster locations sold items such as pink pins, pink bracelets and pink car magnets. Change collectors were also placed on the counters for customers to donate their loose change. Additionally, Jiffy Mart donated 10 cents for each 16-ounce cup of coffee that was sold in the stores.
The Kroger Co.
Kroger recently presented Mountaineer Food Bank Executive Director Dave Karr with a check for more than $15,000. The money will go directly to the food bank’s hunger relief program, through which the organization will buy food with the funds and distribute it to 445 food pantries and 68 soup kitchens in West Virginia counties.
The donation was comprised of a number of Kroger initiatives, including customer donations of $1 and $5 and funds raised from Kroger’s Bringing Hope to the Table program. In addition to the donation, Kroger contributed more than $21,000 in gift cards, which came from customer donations. Kroger also donated nearly 124,000 pounds of perishable food to the Mountaineer Food Bank last year.
The Mountaineer Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger agency. Kroger is a founding partner of Feeding America.
Mars Chocolate North America
Mars Chocolate North America announced that all 10 of its manufacturing facilities are now certified landfill-free, a milestone in achieving the brand’s goal of zero-waste-to-landfill by 2015.
Since establishing its waste target in 2007, Mars Chocolate has driven an overall reduction of approximately 4,500 tons of waste, which is enough to fill 35 football fields, 12 inches deep annually. To achieve this goal, the company has focused its approach on three key areas: efficient operating processes, recycling programs for multiple waste streams and mutually beneficial partnerships with disposal vendors, and local farm reuse programs.
Since 2011, parent company Mars Inc. has aimed to achieve LEED Gold certification for all new major buildings globally. To date, 10 facilities have received certification. Mars also announced the creation of a 200-megawatt wind farm that will generate electricity equivalent to 100 percent of the power for Mars’ U.S. operations, which is comprised of 70 sites including 37 factories and 25,000 associates. Next on Mars’ agenda is to partner with warehouses and regional distribution centers to adopt similar waste reduction policies.
My Goods Market
My Goods Market presented the Boys and Girls Club in San Leandro, Calif., with a $67,000 check. The money was collected through coin boxes placed in the company’s West Coast stores. Of the total amount raised, $10,000 went to the local Boys and Girls Club chapter in San Leandro and the remainder was sent to the national organization.
Parker’s Convenience Stores
Parker’s recently presented a $10,000 Fueling the Community check to Beaufort County School District. The donation is part of a larger unrestricted charitable contribution to area schools. Parker’s donates one cent of every gallon of gas purchased at all of its convenience stores on the first Wednesday of the month to area schools through its Fueling the Community program.
The company’s charitable initiative officially launched in the fall of 2011 and donates money to public and private schools across Georgia and South Carolina. Parker’s customers can sign up for a PumpPal card online at www.PumpPalClub.com to select a school of their choice for their one-cent-per-gallon donation. Existing PumpPal members can access their account online and select a specific school to receive donations.
During the 2014 holiday season, QuickChek became a new partner of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, raising $125,000 in just six weeks in November and December for the Community FoodBank’s Check-Out Hunger campaign. All of the money raised benefited those in need within the counties in which QuickChek operates store locations.
QuickChek store employees and corporate leaders also made two trips to the FoodBank — one that resulted in them sorting and boxing enough food to feed 5,000 hungry families, and another last fall where team members bagged enough food in a single day to feed 6,200 families before Thanksgiving.
Overall in 2014, QuickChek raised $460,000 to benefit a variety of local community causes and aid thousands of area families in need. Additionally, with each store opening, the company donates money to one of the many local charity organizations that helps keep that community going. Thousands of dollars are donated to organizations throughout the New York metropolitan area each year.
QuickChek also supports 145 youth groups statewide. Additionally, the company is the title sponsor of the annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, which raises more than $100,000 each year to benefit local volunteer fire departments, ambulance corps, school groups, and the Children’s Miracle Network of specialized children’s hospitals.