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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Great American Milk Drive kicks off Sept. 1 and this year, Circle K Stores Inc. has signed on as the first-ever major convenience store retailer to participate in the Milk Processor Education Program’s (MilkPEP) national campaign. The goal of the annual drive is to secure highly desired gallons of nutrient-rich milk for millions of hungry families in partnership with Feeding America.
“We’ve seen great retail success with grocery stores for The Great American Milk Drive, and we are proud to partner with Circle K to apply learnings and optimize the opportunity for the convenience store model,” Victor Zaborsky, vice president of MilkPEP, told CSNews Online.
"We are dedicated to creating partnerships that can help deliver much-needed milk to local food banks, engage shoppers and build community presence around an important cause," he continued. "We’re excited to be working with an industry leader like Circle K and their large network of stores this September, Hunger Action Month. With their success, we hope to drive additional convenience store opportunities to activate this turnkey program.”
The Great American Milk Drive is a multi-year effort that has three key periods: June Dairy Month, Hunger Action Month in September and the holiday giving season, when one-third of annual giving occurs, according to Zaborsky.
This September, numerous retailers are activating the Milk Drive, including Circle K. From Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, Circle K’s “Milk For Kids” program will roll out in more than 600 Circle K and Kangaroo Express stores in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Donations will be collected through in-store checkout programs — the preferred touchpoint for donation collection, according to consumer research.
According to MilkPEP, milk is one of the most requested items by food bank clients year-round because of its essential and nutritional value. However, Americans aren’t as likely to donate milk because it is perishable vs. canned and dry goods, the most donated items. Because of this, food banks on average are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year, Zaborsky explained.
This is where the influence of convenience stores in large markets can make a difference. C-stores have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact in their communities by helping deliver much-needed milk to local food banks, he noted.
“Specifically optimized for the retail environment, the [Milk Drive] program can help lift fluid milk sales without discounting, drive foot traffic in store and bring in new customers by doing good and strengthening retailers’ community presence,” said Zaborsky.
CIRCLE K'S PERSPECTIVE
CSNews Online also spoke with Misti Mason, category manager for Circle K Stores, about being the first major c-store retailer to activate The Great American Milk Drive. Here's what she had to say:
What does it mean to be the first c-store retailer to activate The Great American Milk Drive?
Our mission is to express our commitment to community in purposeful, practical and powerful ways. We are committed to being a leader both in the industry and the community, and partnering with The Great American Milk Drive for our Milk For Kids program is the latest way we are putting that commitment into practice. We’re looking forward to raising awareness of this important cause and fulfilling a demonstrated need for donations of nutrient-rich milk within our communities.
What is the company hoping to gain from this experience?
Through our partnership with MilkPEP we’d like to see widespread shopper engagement and support for our Milk For Kids program. By working together to make a difference in our communities, we’re confident that our local activations will lead to increased awareness and donations to this worthy cause, as well as help us develop our relationships with the communities we serve.
What led to the company’s involvement in The Great American Milk Drive?
The Great American Milk Drive is a win-win for us, as it ties directly to our commitment to the communities we serve, while building our community presence, bringing new consumer traffic to our stores and driving incremental sales of milk. MilkPEP makes activating easy by providing turnkey tools and resources we can put into action at any time to support this important cause.
How does The Great American Milk Drive’s mission tie into Circle K's core values?
At Circle K, we strive to be good corporate citizens by improving the quality of life in the communities we serve through a host of local charities and organizations. Because all donations to The Great American Milk Drive stay in the community in which they were donated, we’re able to directly help our neighbors in the communities we serve. Hunger is an issue that affects every community, and we’re proud to be partnering with MilkPEP during Hunger Action Month to help make a difference.
How do you think your customers will respond to your involvement in The Great American Milk Drive?
We know that our shoppers care about our commitment to the community, and The Great American Milk Drive allows us to put that mission into action. Our hope is that The Great American Milk Drive’s goal of providing much-needed milk to local food banks will resonate with our customers and inspire them to make a difference in the local communities with us.
How are you reaching out to customers to encourage their involvement?
Stores across the Southeast will be engaging in friendly competition to drive the most in-store donations. With customized point-of-sale materials like employee buttons and donation scan cards, the Milk For Kids program will make it easy for shoppers to donate milk to local Feeding America food banks anytime at their local Circle K and Kangaroo stores.