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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:
7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma
After a tornado ravaged Little River Park of Moore, Okla., and the adjacent neighborhood in which 7-Eleven Oklahoma operated, the convenience store operator paid 100 percent to commission new artwork in the park.
The $20,000-$30,000 project includes: life-size statues of a boy and girl looking at a map of Moore depicted as "planners"; a boy standing with a shovel in one hand and rolled up plans in the other as the "builder"; and a girl holding a bird in her outstretched hand as the "dreamer."
Sarah Hartman, marketing director of 7-Eleven Oklahoma, said the artwork represents "always dreaming, always planning, always building. Those are the pioneering spirits of Moore."
This summer, The Cities Project by Heineken is partnering with the Bruno Mars 24K Magic World Tour to help fund projects across the country while awarding consumers tickets to the concert tour. Consumers who donate to one of the 11 locally relevant Indiegogo campaigns across the country will receive concert tickets to the tour.
Consumers who text "CITIES" to 88500 will receive a direct link to the project's custom Indiegogo page. From there, they can check out the Heineken curated projects, select a concert in any city, donate to a project of their choice, and receive tickets while supplies last to one of the concerts.
The program will be activated nationwide and will include 11 projects throughout the United States. The program will be supported at retail and on-premise with point-of-sale materials and a text-donate-get opportunity to attract more valuable shoppers, drive conversion, and maximize basket ring and check average, according to Heineken.
The NATSO Foundation has entered into a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking. The partnership is the latest step in NATSO's multi-pronged anti-human trafficking initiative aimed at creating awareness and educating the truckstop and travel plaza industry.
Through the alliance with the DHS Blue Campaign, the NATSO Foundation will provide the DHS Blue Campaign's training and awareness materials — including posters, handouts and other materials — to truckstops and travel plazas. These materials will enhance the foundation's educational resources, according to NATSO.
Parker's Convenience Stores
As part of the company's Fueling the Community charitable initiative, Parker's donated $1,500 to Evans County Schools in Claxton, Ga.
Parker's donates a portion of every gallon of gas sold on the first Wednesday of each month to local schools through the Fueling the Community program. PumpPal club members can select which school will receive the proceeds from the Fueling the Community donation on the first Wednesday.
Parker's originally launched its charitable initiative in 2011 and has donated money to public and private schools in every community where Parker's does business.
Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz sponsored the 8th annual Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run that on April 23 at Penn State University. The run benefits the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. The event brought together more than 3,000 runners and walkers to participate in the 5K run or 2-mile family fun walk.
"At Sheetz, we are deeply committed to supporting the communities we serve. This event will help send more than 2,000 athletes to the 2017 Special Olympics of Pennsylvania Summer Games this June," said Ryan Sheetz, assistant vice president of brand strategy for Sheetz. "But it's about much more than that; it's about transforming lives through the joy of sport, teamwork and friendship. It's about unleashing the greatness that lives within all of us."
Stacy's Pita Chips
Stacy's Pita Chips, a division of PepsiCo Frito-Lay, implemented the "Stacy's Stands With You" campaign in March to tie in with Women's History Month and International Women's Day.
The chips brand produced limited-edition packaging featuring nine different special designs inspired by signs from women's rallies and key moments in the women's movement throughout history. Some of the bags — incorporating Snap codes that could be scanned to make direct calls to government representatives — were handed out during the Women's March rallies on International Women's Day (March 8).
Stacy's also made 8,000 bags available free, with registration, on the campaign's site. It pledged a $10 donation to Step Up — the mentoring organization for girls — for every bag that was claimed. In total, $100,000 was raised.
During a month-long campaign, Sunoco's Stripes Convenience Stores and APlus Stores asked customers to "Put Their Money Where The Miracles Are" and purchase a $1 Miracle Balloon to raise funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals).
Funds raised through the in-store campaigns were unrestricted, meaning the hospitals could use the funds were they were needed most. The funds also stayed in the local communities.
Stripes and APlus have partnered with CMN Hospitals since 2000, raising more than $11 million for sick and injured kids. In 2016, Sunoco's team members raised more than $1.8 million during their spring campaign.
Turkey Hill Minit Markets
During Lancaster, Pa.-based Turkey Hill Minit Markets' charity golf outing, the convenience store chain raised more than $90,000 to donate to 11 charities.
The biggest recipient was the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation, which received more than $43,000. Ten other charities each received a $5,000 donation: Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police Foundation, The Tommy Foundation, SouthEast Lancaster Health Services, The Kadence Jae Foundation, A Week Away, Joni and Friends International Disability Center, Water Street Ministries, Caitlin's Smiles, Habitat for Humanity and Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services.
Duxbury, Mass.-based VERC Enterprises was recipient of the 2017 Exemplary Employer Award from the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC) for its inclusive hiring practices.
The convenience store operator was presented the award at the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress' 33rd Annual Conference, where VERC President Leo Vercollone accepted the honor.
"As a long-time proponent of hiring people with disabilities, I am keenly aware that by working with agencies that facilitate and promote opportunities for individuals with physical or mental disabilities we supply much more than a paycheck," Vercollone said. "I applaud the MDSC and its mission to ensure that individuals with Down syndrome in Massachusetts are valued, included and given opportunities to pursue fulfilling lives and careers."