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:
Through 7-Eleven's popular Operation Chill program, thousands of local law enforcement officers in the U.S. will give free Slurpee drink coupons to kids caught doing good deeds this summer. During 2019, 7-Eleven will issue 1.475 million Slurpee drink coupons to more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies. Most will be distributed during the summer months and back-to-school season.
Big city police departments and small-town forces alike use the Slurpee drink coupons to enhance relationships with young people by rewarding them for good deeds, constructive activities and acts of kindness. Appropriate "offenses" might include helping another person, following safety and traffic laws, or taking part in a community- or police-sponsored event, according to the c-store operator.
"There's a reason Operation Chill continues to be our most popular community service program," said Art Lazo, 7-Eleven vice president of asset protection. "Kids love Slurpee drinks, and police officers love having a reason to approach kids and surprise them with a Slurpee drink coupon as a reward for doing something good. We, at 7-Eleven, know how important it is for police officers to make positive connections with kids early."
Since the program's inception in 1995, including this year, more than 22 million Operation Chill coupons have been distributed to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country in areas where 7-Eleven operates.
Based in Irving, Texas, 7‑Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 68,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America.
Aloha Petroleum recently donated $12,048.88 to Make-A-Wish Hawaii. The funds were raised in March and April through the retailer's ongoing collection canister program at statewide participating Aloha Island Mart stores as well as through a special promotion at the Aloha Island Mart Hawaii Kai.
"Our customers are simply the best, always ready and willing to support our local non-profit partners, such as Make-A-Wish Hawaii, through our canister collection program," said Aloha Petroleum President Tom Grimes. "We're delighted to continue to support the great work of this organization, which has a lasting impact in the lives of children in our community."
The Daily's Foundation is holding an inaugural concert featuring country music superstar Brantley Gilbert at Daily's Place on Friday, Sept. 27. All net proceeds from the concert will directly benefit Northeast Florida charities including the St. Vincent's Mobile Health Outreach Ministry, K9's for Warriors and Nemours Children's Health System.
"Daily's is committed to strengthening the neighborhoods we serve," said Aubrey Edge, president and CEO of Daily's. "The Daily's Foundation is an evolution of Daily's long-standing commitment to serving our communities as we increase our commitment to our hometown. Our first annual charity concert is the perfect way to kick off our foundation's philanthropic mission in Jacksonville. All proceeds from ticket sales will go toward local charities. We are thrilled that our inaugural charity concert will feature the incredible talents of Brantley Gilbert at Daily's Place."
Since its founding, Daily's has contributed more than $4 million in support of organizations such as St. Vincent's Mobile Health Outreach Ministry, The Jay Fund, Riverside Presbyterian Day School, Birdies for the Brave, Jacksonville School for Autism, as well as over 20 area schools and numerous community organizations.
Daily's is a privately held, Jacksonville, Fla.-based c-store chain with stores across the state of Florida.
EG Retail kicked off a national campaign to raise funds for Disabled American Veterans (DAV), with a goal to raise more than $200,000. During the promotion, store employees will ask customers to donate to DAV, and periodically, EG's 989 c-stores will offer a free small cup of coffee to service members and veterans as a "thank you" for their sacrifices.
"We know many of our associates and customers are veterans and believe it is important to recognize and give back to those who have served our country," said Jay Erickson, president of EG America. "Partnering with DAV is very exciting for our store teams and allows them to ‘work as one’ and connect to the communities where they live and work, in a meaningful way."
EG America's retail network includes the Kwik Shop, Loaf n' Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill.
The Hershey Co.
The Hershey Co. was named to The Civic 50 for the seventh consecutive year as one of America's most community-minded companies, an annual recognition from Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.
The Civic 50 recognizes companies that most effectively use their resources to positively impact the communities in which they do business.
"As we celebrate our 125th anniversary this year, we are proud that our investment of time, talent and resources continue to help make our communities strong and vital," said Leigh Horner, vice president of corporate communications and sustainability, The Hershey Co. "We continue to create jobs in our communities, help children and families thrive, and promote education and economic opportunity in the places where we live and work."
Hershey has received the Civic 50 award every year since it was created in 2012.
Kum & Go LC
In the latest move of its partnership, Kum & Go donated more than $600,000 toward Habitat for Humanity. Since teaming up with the organization six years ago, the convenience retailer has contributed more than $3.2 million.
Contributions have been raised through associate and customer donations, the sale of Kum & Go water during the month of the campaign, and Kum & Go corporate grants. In addition to monetary contributions, Kum & Go associates volunteered nearly 400 hours in 2019 to build homes in Fayetteville, Ark.; Greeley and Loveland, Colo.; and Des Moines, Iowa.
Kum & Go is Habitat for Humanity's only national convenience retail partner.
"At Kum & Go, we are driven to make days better. Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity allows our associates and customers to jointly make our communities better, more inclusive places to live," said Kum & Go CEO Kyle J. Krause. "I couldn't be prouder of our collaboration and the homes we were able to provide to families in need."
Based in Des Moines, Kum & Go operates 400 stores in 11 states.
Tom Thumb Food Stores Inc.
Tom Thumb raised $70,000 for Samuel's House, an umbrella agency of two permanent supportive housing units, and Lotus Hotel, a sanctuary that serves more than 250 guests daily, through its 4th annual Mahi Mayhem Invitational Fishing Tournament. Each entity will receive $35,000 each.
"We could not have imagined such a response by our partners and sponsors, this year was the best yet and we're excited to keep growing the Mahi Mayhem Invitational so we can further support wonderful organizations such as Samuel's House and Lotus House," commented Jim and Tom McCarthy, owners of Tom Thumb. "We are truly grateful to the many vendors who continue to support this event and especially to McLane for their continued enduring partnership. The Tom Thumb Mahi Mayhem Invitational fishing tournament is a fantastic experience that truly benefits everyone involved."
South Florida-based Tom Thumb operates 14 convenience stores and 8 Subway restaurant locations from Fort Lauderdale to Key West, Fla.
TravelCenters of America Inc.
TravelCenters of America (TA) ran its 10th annual campaign in support of the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF), a nonprofit that helps truck drivers suffering financial hardship as a result of being out of work due to illness or injury. The month-long campaign ran at participating TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express brands through July 31.
Throughout the month, guests and employees were invited to make a donation of $1 or more. Commemorative wristbands were given to those making a $1 donation, while $5 donors received celebratory die-cast metal keychains.
One hundred percent of donations go directly to the SCF to provide financial assistance to over-the-road and regional professional truck drivers, who are unable to work due to medical issues.
"Drivers who suffer from an illness or injury are coping with treatments and trying to recover," said Barry Richards, president and chief operating officer of TA. "The stress of a financial burden can get in the way of that recovery. The St. Christopher Fund provides medical and financial guidance and assistance so drivers can fully focus on their health and wellness. It's an honor to be in our tenth year of supporting the 'Band Together' campaign."
TA began its support of the SCF in 2010. The Band Together for SCF annual campaign marks the largest single contribution SCF receives each year.
Westlake, Ohio-based TA conducts business in 43 states and Canada, principally under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express travel center brands.