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JERSEY CITY, N.J. – With its far-reaching efforts to support military members and their families, Kangaroo Express, the convenience store chain operated by The Pantry Inc., has been selected the winner of the Grand Spirit Award for Community Outreach, the convenience industry's community service awards program sponsored by Convenience Store News.
Launched in 2009, the Spirit Awards for Community Outreach honor convenience retailers that are involved in community service programs aimed at bettering the lives of the people in the markets they serve.
In addition to Kangaroo Express, the following c-store retailers were also named 2012 Spirit Awards winners in their respective chain-size categories:
- For companies with one to 99 stores: Tevis Oil/Jiffy Mart
- For companies with 100 to 499 stores: Northern Tier/SuperAmerica
- For companies with 500-plus stores: Valero Energy Corp./Corner Store
"Convenience stores are as local as local gets," commented CSNews Editor-in-Chief Don Longo. "It's with great pleasure that we recognize some of the outstanding efforts of convenience stores that are truly dedicated to improving the lives of the people who live in the neighborhoods and markets served by their stores."
The Pantry, operator of more than 1,500 Kangaroo Express stores across the Southeast, is well-established as an industry standout for community service. The Cary, N.C.-based company won the Spirit Award last year for companies with 500-plus stores -- primarily because of its inaugural Salute Our Troops campaign.
In 2011, the Memorial Day through Labor Day drive raised $2.5 million and broke fundraising milestones for many of the beneficiary organizations, including being the largest grassroots initiative for the USO in its 70-year history. This year, The Pantry not only beat last year's numbers, it knocked them out of the ballpark, raising more than $3 million during the second annual Salute Our Troops campaign this summer.
Valero's Corner Store portfolio is also well-known for giving back. In addition to the thousands of volunteer hours donated by the company's employees, Valero has been linked with several national charities such as the Children's Miracle Network, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the United Way. The San Antonio-based company also lends it name and support to the PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open. The 2011 Valero Texas Open was the most successful in the tournament's 87-year history, teaming with the Valero Texas Open Benefit for Children to contribute a record $9 million to charity.
Northern Tier's SuperAmerica chain, the winner in the mid-size category, takes community service seriously and it shows. The company formed a donation committee that meets once a month and its efforts have paid off. SuperAmerica locations raised more than $1 million in the past year, with two of the notable beneficiaries being Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare and JDRF MinnDakotas. In fact, the retailer is the second-largest fundraiser for JDRF MinnDakotas.
Like its fellow award winners. Tevis Oil's Jiffy Mart stores also had a banner year. The retailer passed its 2010-2011 fundraising milestones by raising more than double the amount as of August. The company donates to national organizations -- including St. Jude Children's Hospital and the American Cancer Foundation -- as well as several local charities. The company even utilizes new technology in its campaigns, highlighting community service efforts via social media.