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Community Service Spotlight

NATIONAL REPORT -- Giving back through community service efforts and charity 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:

Alon Brands
Alon Brands presented the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission in New Mexico with a brand-new 2013 Ford F150 truck as a part of its Clean 13 “Cars-4-Cause” program. The Rescue Mission has been the only emergency homeless shelter in Las Cruces since 1972, providing for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the less fortunate through the provision of food, clothing, shelter, outreach, job training and life skills. Last year, the organization served nearly 70,000 meals and gave away more than 100,000 items of clothing.

The Rescue Mission received the second of four cars that will be donated to community organizations on behalf of Alon Brands and its distributors this year under the “Cars-4-Cause” program. Customers can enter to win cars and vote for deserving nonprofits by picking up a “Load-the-Code” card at any ALON location.

Circle K Mid-Atlantic
In partnership with the BP Fueling Communities program, Circle K Mid-Atlantic presented a $3,500 grant to FeedMore’s Central Virginia Food Bank to support hunger relief efforts in the 31 counties and five cities the nonprofit serves. BP Fueling Communities is a philanthropic program that enables local BP fuel retailers to give grants to organizations working to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.

According to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, more than 900,000 Virginians -- nearly 12 percent of the state's population -- are food insecure and often must choose between providing food for their families and taking care of other basic necessities.

Cumberland Farms Inc.
Cumberland Farms awarded Believe and Achieve Scholarships to 130 talented high school seniors from 11 states to help them attend college this fall. The convenience store chain’s popular scholarship program began seven years ago and has already provided more than 900 college-bound young adults with critical financial assistance to help them realize their dreams of achieving a college education.

As part of the company's commitment to nurturing the future of young people, the program provides $1,000 scholarships to eligible graduating high school seniors across its service area. This year, Cumberland Farms awarded $130,000 in scholarships to 27 students in Massachusetts, 23 in Florida, 20 in New York, 16 in Pennsylvania, 13 in New Jersey, 11 in Connecticut, eight in Maine, four each in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, three in Vermont and one in Delaware.

The Kroger Co.
Kroger recently introduced a $1.5-million donation program to support schools, nonprofits and faith-based organizations in Texas and Louisiana. The new Kroger Community Rewards program invites local schools, nonprofits and faith-based organizations to enroll in the program to benefit from monetary donations four times per year.

Any charity interested in signing up for the Kroger Community Rewards program must submit a one-time digital application. After approval, each organization can encourage their supporters and clients to link their Kroger Plus Cards to the group's participant number. Once supporters have registered their Kroger Plus Cards to a participating organization, each time they shop at Kroger, a portion of their purchase benefits their charity of choice.

For the 2013-2014 period, more than 1,000 organizations are already enrolled. New applications are being processed and approved daily. Current enrolled charities represent a variety of categories including churches, youth development programs, hunger-relief missions, community development groups, sports programs, PTAs and PTOs.

Over the past five years, Kroger has awarded $5 million to thousands of Texas and Louisiana organizations through its previous Neighbor-to-Neighbor program.

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
Love’s employees and customers are showing a lot of heart for sick and injured kids with the return of the retailer’s annual in-store fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN). Now through Sept. 23, those who purchase a $1, $5 or $20 paper heart icon at the register will directly help the nearest CMN hospital fund vital treatments, equipment, therapy programs and charitable care.

Since 1999, Love’s has raised more than $7 million through its annual campaign, as well as additional fundraising events that include bake sales, cook-offs, pumping gas for kids and other employee-driven events.

As with all fundraisers for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, all donations made local will stay local.

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