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NATIONAL REPORT — Giving back through community service efforts and charitable 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:
Aloha Petroleum Ltd.
Hawaii-based Aloha Petroleum launched a two-month customer donation campaign with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). Throughout April and May, customers at any Aloha Island Mart location can add a $1 or more donation at checkout to support PHA's goal.
"Since partnering with PHA in October 2016, Aloha is committed to delivering more nutritious options to meet the needs of our communities. We are building on our healthier food options in Aloha Island Mart stores, and will continue to make those choices more affordable while supporting healthier options through in-store marketing and promotions," said Richard Parry, president and CEO for Aloha Petroleum. "Aloha has also made significant commitments to PHA's FNV and Drink Up marketing initiatives to promote fruit and vegetable consumption and water as a healthier choice."
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
In celebration of National Reading Month, CITGO and its mobile literacy partner Bess the Book Bus hosted special reading events for thousands of children at more than 50 schools and Children's Hospitals throughout the Central United States.
From Feb. 23 to March 3, CITGO representatives and Bess the Book Bus delivered more than 18,000 brand new, free books to schools in eight states. The campaign included visits near CITGO operation areas in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, a visit near CITGO headquarters in Houston and three CITGO refineries in Lemont, Ill., Lake Charles, La., and Corpus Christie, Texas.
The petroleum marketer also continued to raise awareness for muscular dystrophy. From St. Patrick's Day through March 31, customers were asked to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) by purchasing a MDA Shamrock for $1, $5 or more. Purchased Shamrocks were displayed through the stores to showcase support.
In 2016, CITGO raised $1.3 million during the MDA Shamrocks program, while 2017 marked 31 years of the CITGO and MDA national partnership. CITGO has raised more than $200 million in support of MDA through events and programs like golf tournaments, distinguished events and the Shamrocks program.
Parker's Convenience Stores
Through its partnership with WSAV-TV, Parker's awarded a $500 scholarship to Collins Sherrill, a senior at Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Ga. Sherrill was automatically entered for the chance to win an additional $1,000 academic scholarship alongside other monthly Outstanding Student Scholarship winners.
Parker's and WSAV are partnering to honor outstanding students for their excellence in the classroom, in the community and in sports. Every month during the school year, Parker's donates a $500 college scholarship to an exceptional student in Georgia or the South Carolina lowcountry. A panel of judges carefully reviews every nomination and chooses a winner.
Pester Marketing's Alta Convenience stores in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska continue their commitment to raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation through Buy-A-Star, Make-A-Wish in-store donation campaigns. In addition to the Make-A-Wish blue stars purchased by customers, the c-store chain also donated 10 percent of the total stars sold.
Over the past four years, the company has raised more than $200,000 for Make-A-Wish. In the past year, Pester Marketing and Alta Convenience have raised a total of $53,057.
Ricker's Convenience Stores
Indiana c-store operator Ricker's was named "Business of the Year" by the Northern Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards and recognition event. Ricker's tied with one other company for the first place prize.
According to the company, the "Business of the Year" award went to the Hamilton County business that best contributed to the well-being of the community. Approximately 15 businesses and individuals were recognized. Winners were nominated by Chamber members and then voted on by the executive board.
"We are honored to have been named one of Northern Hamilton County Chamber of Commerce's 'Businesses of the Year.' Our goal has always been to give back to the communities in which we do business and provide our customers with a clean store, friendly environment and healthy food options. We are thankful to know that the members of our community believe we are accomplishing that," said Jay Ricker, founder and chairman of Ricker's.
Thanks to a record-breaking Holiday Match season, Stewart's Shops allocated funds to 1,737 organizations across the communities where Stewart's Shops are located. The number of checks being mailed is more than 130 from the company's previous record.
From Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day, customers donated more than $926,000 to the program, which was doubled to more than $1.85 million with the Stewart's match. There are no administrative costs with this program, meaning 100 percent of the funds collected and matched benefit these organizations, according to the company.
The Stewart's Holiday Match program has now allocated more than $24 million since the program's inception in 1986.