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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:

CITGO Petroleum Corp.

CITGO Petroleum Corp. and CITGO Marketer Champlain Oil raised $20,000 for adults and children in Vermont affected by neuromuscular diseases at the 20th Annual Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Golf Tournament. A record 136 golfers participated in the tournament at Vermont National Country Club on July 29. Miss Vermont, Sarah Westbrook, also joined in the event.

The proceeds will go toward the aid and well-being of families affected by neuromuscular diseases across Vermont. The CITGO-Champlain Oil golf tournament has helped provide those families with access to MDA clinics, follow-up care and support groups since 1993.

In other company news, CITGO Petroleum Corp. and CITGO Marketers Graham Enterprises Inc. and Graham C-Stores Co. hosted the 24th Annual Tournament of Hope Golf Outing at the Ivanhoe Country Club in Mundelein, Ill., on July 22. The event drew 185 golfers who raised more than $80,000 for the "Fueling the Minds of the Future" scholarship program, which will provide 40 high school seniors with $2,000 each in scholarship funds.

The "Fueling the Minds of the Future" program is managed by Illinois-based Charitable Management Systems (CMS) Foundation, which helps programs and initiatives achieve their goals. The scholarship program has worked with Graham Enterprises and Graham C-Stores to help their local community members further their education.

Kum & Go LC

Kum & Go LC presented a check to the American Red Cross to help people and communities affected by the recent wildfires in Colorado. Thanks to in-store donations from Kum & Go customers, plus a generous donation from the company, the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross received $15,000 to support ongoing relief efforts.

Kum & Go operates more than 420 stores in 11 states, including 50 stores in Colorado.

The NATSO Foundation

The NATSO Foundation awarded $25,000 in higher education scholarships to deserving students with ties to the truck stop and travel plaza industry.

Five students each were awarded $5,000 under the Bill Moon Scholarship, which helps truck stop and travel plaza owners and operators, their employees and their families further their education.

This year saw a significant increase in the number of applications submitted for the Bill Moon Scholarship after the NATSO Foundation Board of Directors elected to double the financial awards granted under the scholarship program from $2,500 to $5,000. More than 90 applications were submitted, more than triple the number received in recent years.

Since 1993, the Bill Moon Scholarship Program has awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships. Each year, the NATSO Foundation holds fundraising events and accepts contributions from truck stop and travel plaza operators and industry suppliers to fund the scholarships.

NATSO is the trade association of America’s travel plaza and truck stop industry.

St. Romain Oil

St. Romain Oil, a family-owned convenience store and wholesale fuels company based in Louisiana, raised more than $17,000 for Re-Entry Solutions as a part of their Corporate Works of Mercy program in an effort to “refuel and refresh communities.”

Re-Entry Solutions is designed to help restore families by assisting those who have been incarcerated and struggle with transitioning back into society. St. Romain Oil, the operator of Y-Not Stop convenience stores, had a great deal of help in collecting the $17,643 donated to Re-Entry Solutions: $2,565 was donated by the community, $913 was donated by sponsors and $1,683 was donated by employees.

Inspired by the biblical corporal works of mercy taught by the Catholic Church, the company took a new approach in 2012 and partnered with four organizations -- the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, Re-Entry Solutions, Turning Point Battered Women’s Program and the Alzheimer’s Association -- to focus on helping more people locally. Each quarter of St. Romain Oil's fiscal year is dedicated to raising money and awareness for one of its four Corporate Works of Mercy charities. The company donated more than $40,000 to the four charities in 2012 and hopes to donate even more this year.

TravelCenters of America LLC

TravelCenters of America LLC (TA) launched its annual campaign in support of the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF), a non-profit organization that helps truck drivers suffering from financial hardship due to medical problems. The campaign has been underway at all TA and Petro locations since Aug. 22 and will run through Sept. 30.

During the campaign, guests and employees at TA and Petro Stopping Centers can receive a commemorative 2013 wristband when they donate $1 or more to the charity. Donations may be made at all company restaurants, travel stores, fuel buildings and truck service facilities, and all proceeds will go to the SCF.

TravelCenters has been supporting drivers through the SCF since 2010, and the TA and Petro annual campaign contributions mark the largest single donations the fund receives each year. As of July 31, SCF has helped 806 truck drivers and their families with monthly bills, including utilities and mortgages.

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