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06/30/2022

Community Service Spotlight: CITGO, Stewart's Shops, Wawa & Yesway

Efforts focus on support of Uvalde Elementary School, disaster relief and youth charities.
Sanestina Hunter
Associate Editor
Sanestina Hunter profile picture
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CITGO Logo

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:

CITGO Petroleum Corp. 

CITGO awarded several grants to promote community resilience in its operating areas and beyond as part of the overall disaster resilience and relief strategy.

Several of CITGO's community grants coincide with the upcoming hurricane season. In Lake Charles, La., CITGO is donating $25,000 to the United Way to help create a pre-screening system to facilitate assistance more quickly for those in need affected by storms. The company is also donating $25,000 to United Way in Corpus Christi, Texas, for its resilience quick release funds, which assist partner organizations prior to and immediately after storms.

To further support resiliency in other regions, CITGO is also donating:

  • $25,000 to Will County Habitat for Humanity in Joliet, Ill., to assist vulnerable families in Lockport, Ill., with housing needs.
  • $50,000 to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to support its green design project. As a way to increase the environmental resilience of the Gulf Coast and reduce water pollution, these green design practices can reduce flooding, improve water quality, and increase storm protection, while also providing increased wildlife habitat.
  • $25,000 to Operation Impact in the Houston area. The funds will support the distribution of a week's worth of shelf-stable meals to seniors through Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston's Meals on Wheels program in the greater Houston area.

"The communities we call home demonstrate tremendous resilience, especially during storm season — and they do so by coming together. We're proud to regularly join in this effort, both through grants to our nonprofit partners and through TeamCITGO volunteer activities," said CITGO General Manager of Government and Public Affairs Michael Rosen. "Together, we've lent a helping hand both immediately following a natural disaster and in the long-term by helping communities rebuild and better prepare for future storms. These grants in particular, support projects to help communities increase their resiliency and be better prepared."

Headquartered in Houston, CITGO transports and markets motor fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, and other industrial products. CITGO operates three refineries located in Lake Charles, La.; Lemont, Ill.; and Corpus Christi, Texas, and jointly owns 38 active terminals, six pipelines, and three lubricant blending and packaging plants. 

Gate Petroleum Co.

The GATE Foundation raised $30,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Funds were raised in Gate convenience stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina through the company's semi-annual paper icon campaign.

As part of the fundraising process, customers donated $1 from May 1 to 21. Guests signed their names on the JDRF paper icons that were displayed in-store. Customers also donated by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar.

"JDRF is so grateful to the GATE Foundation, Gate store employees and customers for their support of the Type 1 diabetes community through their recent in-store fundraiser," said Brooks Biagini, JDRF marketing director. "Funds raised will fund critical research that will help advance scientific breakthroughs and ultimately a cure for Type 1 diabetes."

Gate Petroleum Co. is a diversified company headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. Gate operates in a variety of industries including convenience stores, car washes, fleet and fuel services, real estate, hospitality and construction materials. 

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Stewart's Shops

Stewart's Shops 

Stewart's Shops partnered with Shelters of Saratoga to launch the Give to Make Change campaign, which aims to educate residents and visitors about area poverty and homelessness. The campaign also provides critical financial support for solution-based services that help end the cycle of homelessness.

Since its launch, the campaign received a $15,000 anonymous donation, which inspired Stewart's Shops to distribute Give to Make Change coffee sleeves at its 53 Saratoga County, N.Y., shops. The coffee sleeve also provided additional information on the initiative.

Shelters of Saratoga has been transforming the lives of community members facing homelessness with support services, safe shelters, and a path to independence. This year, the organization hopes to invest $8 million back into its community.

Stewart's Shops is a family and employee-owned convenience store chain headquartered in Ballston Spa, N.Y. The company employs more than 4,500 people and operates more than 350 shops across New York and southern Vermont. 

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United Supermarkets 'Save the Children Ukraine'

United Supermarkets 

Through a company-wide donate-at-the-register campaign, The United Family raised $187,073.17 for Save the Children Ukraine, the nonprofit providing relief efforts to children impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The donate-at-the-register campaign ran in stores across Texas and New Mexico, including United Supermarkets, Market Street, Albertsons Market, and Amigos.

"Just like so many people out there, we've watched this tragic conflict unfold and wondered how we can help," said Sidney Hopper, president of The United Family. "This fundraiser was an opportunity for anyone who wanted to help the people of Ukraine — especially the children. This incredible amount of funds will go to provide healthcare, food and other vital supplies as this conflict continues — all thanks to the generosity of our guests."

The Save the Children organization works to provide children with a healthy start to life, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm. When a crisis strikes, Save the Children is one of the first organizations on the ground and one of the last ones to leave.

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Wawa Logo

Wawa Inc.

The Wawa Foundation asked the public to vote to determine the top grant recipient of its four finalists for The Wawa Foundation Hero Award. Recipients of the Hero Award will receive a $50,000 grant, and the three runners-up will each receive $10,000 grants.

Votes were cast on The Wawa Foundation's website from June 13 to 29. The organization receiving the most votes will be presented to The Wawa Foundation Hero Award Panel for final approval.

The Wawa Foundation Hero Award is an honor given to a nonprofit organization serving the greater Philadelphia area that assists others and builds stronger communities through preserving our independence, protecting our safety, and mentoring and inspiring our youth.

The four finalists are:

  • Coded by Kids prepares underrepresented young people to succeed as tech and innovation leaders through high-quality tech education, project-based learning, mentorship, and real-world business opportunities.
  • Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School is a Catholic college preparatory school for students of all faiths, nurtures and challenges 550 underserved students to recognize and realize their full potential.
  • Mighty Writers teaches kids, ages 3 to 17, to think clearly and write with clarity so they can achieve success at school, at work, and in life. Through afterschool and summer writing programs, Mighty Writers develops unique and enriching communities, champions the stories of diverse youth writers, and drives each student to reach their maximum potential.
  • Philadelphia Youth Basketball (PYB) is a community-built youth empowerment organization that leverages the iconic game of basketball to help today's urban youth overcome the most urgent and systemic issues facing underserved communities.

Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates nearly 1,000 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C. The Wawa Foundation is a nonprofit corporation founded to support Wawa's charitable giving and philanthropic activities.

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Yesway Logo

Yesway

Yesway kicked off its Uvalde Strong fundraising campaign, which was created to offer support to the Uvalde, Texas, community that has been impacted as the result of the mass shooting at a local elementary school on May 24.

Through June 30, Yesway and Allsup's customers were invited to make $1, $5, $10, or larger donation at checkout.

"Everyone at Yesway is deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy, which hits very close to home, and we feel compelled to support our neighbors in Uvalde," said Tom Trkla, Yesway's chairman and CEO. "We are committed to donating $25,000 to benefit the families and community members who have been affected by the mass shooting tragedy. We ask our Yesway and Allsup's customers to join us by making donations at our stores. Every generous donation will help us to achieve our goal of raising $50,000 for those whose lives have been irrevocably changed."

Forth Worth, Texas-based Yesway's portfolio currently consists of 405 stores located in Texas, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. It acquired the Allsup's Convenience Stores chain in late 2019.