Community Service Spotlight: 7-Eleven, The Hershey Co. & QuikTrip

Stewart’s Shops, Texas Born, United Family and Weiler Convenience Stores also gave back to their communities.
Amanda Koprowski
Associate Editor
Koprowski Headshot

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.

[Read more: Community Service Spotlight: Casey's, Crosby's, EG Group & Wawa]

Here are the latest company spotlights:

Police officer and two kids getting Slurpees at 7-Eleven

7-Eleven Inc.

7-Eleven Inc. kicked off the 28th year of Operation Chill, a community outreach program which allows law enforcement officers to create positive connections by awarding a coupon to kids they see doing good deeds or exhibiting positive behavior. The coupon can then be redeemed for a free small Slurpee at any participating 7-Eleven, Speedway or Stripes store. 

With the expansion of the program, this will be the first summer kids will be able to redeem their Slurpee drink coupons at Speedway. Overall, 7-Eleven will issue nearly 500,000 coupons to more than 1,300 participating law enforcement agencies throughout the summer, according to the convenience retailer.

"By bringing local law enforcement officers and neighborhood kids together, we are helping to create positive long-term relationships that are key to building thriving communities," said Marissa Jarratt, executive vice president and chief marketing & sustainability officer at 7-Eleven. "And with Speedway stores now participating in Operation Chill, we are thrilled to be bringing this popular community engagement program to even more neighborhoods than ever this summer."

Operation Chill was founded in Philadelphia in 1995. The program has subsequently expanded to hundreds of cities across the country, donating more than 24 million coupons to U.S. law enforcement agencies.

Hershey's Co. logo

The Hershey Co.

The Hershey Co. will be investing in the construction of 10 primary schools in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d'Ivoire, as well as supporting a focused program to preserve the Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve (RNMY).

The projects will be carried out through a partnership with Côte d'Ivoire government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, such as the National Oversight Committee of Actions Against Child Trafficking, Exploitation and Child Labor and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). Purposefully aligned with the objectives of the country's National Strategy for Sustainable Cocoa and Hershey's new Income Accelerator, the investments are intended to reflect a shared commitment to ensuring a better and more sustainable cocoa supply chain.

"Access to education for children and environmental conservation are critical components of our broader Cocoa For Good strategy and vital to building healthy communities where cocoa farmers and their families live," said Chuck Raup, president, U.S., at Hershey. "We are proud to take an active role in creating greater access to primary schooling and building the critical conservation programming needed to support healthy cocoa ecosystems and farmer income resilience."

According to Hershey, the new schools will help create critical infrastructure to enable generations of children to succeed. Further, the partnership with the Foundation for the Parks and Reserves will help support conservation and management efforts inside RNMY, including replanting nearly 1,000 hectares of degraded lands, conducting a biodiversity census, strengthening existing ecological monitoring capabilities and engaging local communities for support. 

[Read more: The Hershey Co. Recognized for Diversity Initiatives]

"We are pleased to support this important collaboration to improve access to quality education," said Matthias Lange, executive director of ICI. "In line with national priorities, we know that improving access to quality schools is an important step in tackling child labor in cocoa-growing communities."

QuikTrip Corp.

In honor of Memorial Day, Oklahoma-based QuikTrip donated a portion of its holiday weekend Big Q sales to Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that helps provide the families of fallen and disabled service members and first responders educational opportunities and financial assistance. 

"QuikTrip is committed to supporting military and first responder families across the nation and we are grateful for their sacrifices," said Aisha Jefferson-Smith, QuikTrip's corporate communications manager. "Since partnering with Folds of Honor in 2008, we have helped provide over 44,000 life-changing scholarships to the spouses and children of fallen or disabled U.S. service members and first responders."

Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, 3,671 students received a total of $15.2 million in scholarships in the markets that QuikTrip operates. 

QuikTrip donates 5 percent of its annual net profits to charitable organizations. In addition to Folds of Honor, the company also supports the United Way, Safe Place, and local food banks and schools.

Stewart's Give A Pint Get A Pint Banner

Stewart's Shops

For the eighth consecutive year, Stewart's Shops will be treating Red Cross blood donors to free pints of ice cream as a part of its "Give a Pint, Get a Pint" program.   

Throughout the month of June, donors at blood drives across upstate New York will receive a voucher for a free pint of Stewart's Shops ice cream or gelato. Vouchers can then be redeemed at any Stewart's location.

To kick off the campaign, Stewart's will hand out free ice cream at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center at 33 Everett Road in Albany on June 1. Mascots Flavor the Cow and Buddy Blood Drop will be on hand for photos, while donors will have the opportunity to donate at the fixed site or on the Next Generation Blood Mobile, which will be traveling to neighborhoods throughout the Capital Region to collect blood and highlight the need for donations.  

Gary Dake, president of Stewart's Shops, will also be on site to donate at the Blood Mobile.

Blood donations meet the needs of accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. Someone needs blood every two seconds. The Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the nation's blood and blood components, all from volunteer donors. However, supply often can't meet demand as only about 3 percent of age-eligible people donate blood yearly, the association said.

TXB donation check to Texas CASA

Texas Born (TXB)

Texas Born (TXB) raised $113,000 for Texas CASA chapters through its in-store round-up events and the Doyce Taylor Memorial 27th Annual Fishing and Golf Classic Tournament. The two-day event set record attendance levels.

Since 2008, TXB has raised almost $1 million for the child protection nonprofit.

Texas CASA is the statewide association for 73 local CASA programs. The programs recruit, train and supervise court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers, which advocate for children involved in the child welfare system. At the state level, the organization also provides financial support, training and services to help local programs operate more effectively.

Headquartered in Spicewood, Texas, TXB operates more than 47 locations throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Formerly known as Kwik Chek Food Stores, the chain rebranded three years ago.

Pile of red apples

The United Family

The United Family, a Texas-based grocery chain and c-store operator, donated 50,000 pounds of apples to food banks and food pantries across Texas and New Mexico in the month of April.

[Read more: The United Family Raises Awareness of Human Trafficking]

The gift was made as part of the Take a Bite Out of Hunger program, which was created by FirstFruits Farms to help feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity across the country. Over the first 12 years of the program, The United Family has donated more than half a million pounds of apples and fed more than 167,000 families. 

"The United Family feels very blessed to be in the position to be making these donations for the 13th year in a row," said Joseph Bunting, produce business director for The United Family. "We know just how important donations of fresh produce can be for food banks and their clients. We are so thankful for this partnership with FirstFruits and the hard work of our team members across Texas and New Mexico."

The organizations who received donations included South Plains Food Bank, High Plains Food Bank, Food Bank of West Central Texas, Minnies Food Pantry, West Texas Food Bank, Concho Valley Regional Food Bank and Wichita Falls Area Food Bank in Texas, and Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, Roadrunner Food Bank and The Storehouse in New Mexico.

Mid West Horse Foundation Logo

Weiler Convenience Stores

Marshfield, Wis.-based Weiler Convenience Stores donated $2,126.50 each to two local animal welfare organizations: the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation (MHWF) and the Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS).

The donations came from Weiler's sale of custom t-shirts, with the entirety of proceeds going to support the work of the two rescues. 

Now in its fifth year, the fundraising initiative was spearheaded by Kelly Weiler, owner of Weiler Convenience Stores.

Marshfield Area Pet Shelter Logo

"We are delighted to present these donations to the Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation and the Marshfield Area Pet Shelter," said Weiler. "As animal lovers and members of this community, we wanted to leverage our resources to assist these organizations in their essential work of rescuing and providing care for horses and pets in need. It's a cause that is close to our hearts, and we are grateful for the opportunity to contribute."

The MHWF rescues and rehabilitates abused, neglected and abandoned horses, providing them with the care and training necessary for adoption into loving homes. MAPS rescues, cares for and rehomes companion animals, ensuring their wellbeing and promoting responsible pet ownership.

The funds from the donations will go directly toward covering medical expenses, food, shelter and other essential needs for the animals under each rescue's care.

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