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:
Aloha Petroleum Ltd.
Aloha Petroleum recently donated $7,473.55 to the Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division. The funds were raised through canister collection donations at participating Aloha Island Mart convenience stores across the state.
"We're so grateful to our customers for their incredible generosity in supporting the efforts of non-profit organizations in our community like The Salvation Army," said Gary Altman, general manager of company-operated stores for Aloha Petroleum. "The Salvation Army is in every Hawaii community and brings food, shelter, safety and long-term solutions that give help and hope to those who need it most."
Aloha Petroleum has previously used its collection canister program to support numerous other non-profit organizations including the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, Aloha Harvest, American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.
Cenex Zip TRIP
Cenex Zip Trip is putting animals into focus in 2020 as part of its commitment to help strengthen hometown communities. The retailer plans to support a number of different humane societies and animal shelters throughout its five-state footprint, selecting a different shelter to partner with each month.
"Helping animals in need is something near and dear to the hearts of many of our employees," said Andrea Worley, Cenex Zip Trip marketing specialist. "By supporting and helping to bring more awareness to our local animal shelters, we hope a few more deserving animals will find their forever homes this year."
Kicking off its initiatives, Cenex Zip Trip is currently sponsoring a dog who has been in need of adoption for several months at the Humane Society of Northwest Montana in Kalispell. The retailer will cover the animal's adoption fees and is promoting her availability on its social media pages. The company is also covering the cost of a 10-foot by 10-foot kennel for her future owners to safely contain her while away.
Additionally, Cenex Zip Trip has committed to donating $1 to the Humane Society of Northwest Montana for every new "like" its Facebook page receives in February.
Other ways the company will support animal shelters is by holding donation drives of needed pet supplies and supporting shelter fundraising events.
"While this is a new, focused effort for us, we will certainly continue to support our usual variety of community events and local organizations," Worley said.
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
CITGO Petroleum Corp., the official fuel sponsor of the 124th Boston Marathon, is sending 10 first responders from its operational areas to run the historic race on April 20.
Four Houston Police Department Officers, three Corpus Christi Firefighters, two Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Officers and one Sulphur Firefighter were selected based on their responses to the question, "What does running the Boston Marathon mean to you?"
This is the second year CITGO conducted an open call for runners interested in participating in the athletic event. In 2019, eight teachers from school districts in the company's footprint ran the marathon proudly wearing the CITGO Trimark.
"Our CITGO sign in Kenmore Square has stood watch over this historic race since 1965 and we are happy to support the world's oldest annual marathon and the thousands of runners who participate," said Carlos Jordá, CITGO president and CEO. "We are especially honored to recognize our own first responders for the difficult job they do, putting their lives on the line for our communities every day."
The CITGO presence within the event also includes the digital campaign titled "The Road to Boston" that provides year-long event information to race participants and a "cheer zone" strategically located beneath the CITGO sign, where company representatives and spectators gather to cheer and encourage participants as they take their final steps toward the Boylston Street finish line.
CN Brown Co.
CN Brown Co., owner of Big Apple Food Stores, raised more than $300,000 in 2019 to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) through several company-sponsored events and promotions held during the year.
"Our family's commitment to helping win the fight for families affected by MDA has remained strong for generations," said Jeff Jones, general manager, CN Brown Co. "Over the last 30 years, CN Brown Company and our employees have worked hard to raise more than $6 million for the MDA Maine chapter."
CN Brown Co.'s decades-long partnership with MDA of Maine continued in 2019 with the company's 28th annual Miracle Ball and 32nd annual golf tournament, which raised approximately $72,000 and $48,000, respectively.
Regular fundraising efforts also included the company’s two annual paper mobile campaigns, in which customers could purchase $1 and $5 paper mobiles for MDA, raising an impressive total of $165,500.
The NATSO Foundation was recognized by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as a leader in the transportation sector’s fight against human trafficking during an event hosted by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
The NATSO Foundation’s goal is to provide truckstop and travel center owners and employees with the necessary tools and resources to inform the public about this serious issue and train employees on how to detect and help a potential victim. It was one of the first transportation organizations to join the DOT’s stakeholder group, Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking, when it was formed in 2012.
"Combatting human trafficking begins with awareness and education — for our employees and the customers we serve," said NATSO CEO Lisa Mullings, who is also president of the NATSO Foundation. "Every January, during National Human Trafficking Awareness month, we reaffirm our commitment to this important cause and to doing all we can to advance public awareness because we know that private enterprises are making a meaningful difference in the fight against this horrific crime."
The NATSO Foundation offers myriad resources for the truckstop and travel plaza industry to advance public awareness and education about the crime of human trafficking, specifically an online training course and toolkit that serves as roadmap for implementing an anti-human trafficking education and awareness program at individual travel center locations.
The association also works closely with the Department of Homeland Security, Truckers Against Trafficking, Polaris Project, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and other local organizations. The NATSO Foundation provides through its alliance with the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign training and awareness materials.
Parker’s recently donated $2,500 to Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia through its annual sales of pink Breast Cancer Awareness refillable cups.
"We are deeply honored to support the exceptional work that Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia does right here in our community," said Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker. "At Parker's, we're committed to fighting breast cancer and raising awareness about this devastating disease."
Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia serves residents of Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh Counties.
During American Heart Month (February), Pilot Co. raised money for the American Heart Association (AHA) with its Heart for Hearts initiative. For every heart this Facebook post received, the travel center operator donated $1 to AHA, up to $10,000.
American Heart Month also marked the kickoff of Pilot Co.'s Life is Why We Give campaign, with a goal to raise $1 million to support AHA. One hundred percent of donations will benefit the association.
This is the third year of Pilot Co.'s Life is Why We Give initiative. During the campaign, the company's fundraising initiatives included:
- Paper heart icons: $1, $3 and $5 red hearts will be available for purchase at all locations
- Pin-pad round up or donation: Guests can round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar or elect to donate other amounts at the pin-pad during checkout
- Donate online: A donation link was included on the company’s campaign website to provide guests with a convenient way to donate
- Social media donation: On Valentine’s Day, followers of @pilotflyingj on social media had an opportunity to “spread the love” and donate to AHA
"Our continued support of the American Heart Association and the incredible generosity of our guests and team members has contributed more than $2 million for the Life is Why We Give campaign since 2018," said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Co. "Giving to such an important cause, which affects so many of our loved ones, helps the American Heart Association discover breakthroughs and develop initiatives to save and improve lives. Together, we can help countless people within our communities and around the world who are impacted by heart disease and stroke."
RaceTrac is sponsoring Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee as its newest charitable giving partner. Through the partnership, the convenience store retailer has pledged to donate up to $50,000 to the cause, equaling 200,000 meals those facing hunger in the Middle Tennessee community.
The Spinx Co. will host its annual Charity Golf Classic Tournament on Tuesday, May 12. It has selected five charities that will benefit from this year's tournament, including the American Red Cross, Safe Harbor, Loaves and Fishes, Pendleton Place and the Children's Museum of the Upstate.
To date, the Spinx golf tournament has raised more than $1.3 million to help fund 25 charitable organizations.
"It is quite an accomplishment to have sustained such a successful charity golf tournament for all of these years," stated Spinx Co. founder and CEO Stewart Spinks. "I am absolutely thrilled at the amount of money we have raised for all of those in need within our communities, and I look forward to another successful event in May."
VP Racing Fuels
San Antonio-based VP Racing Fuels Inc. kicked off its annual Pink Jug campaign in support of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. In 2019, VP experienced a more than 30-percent increase in donations through the sale of the pink jug.
"At VP, we know a thing or two about research and development," said President and CEO Alan Cerwick. "We strive every day to fuel people's passions, but the very dedicated group at the Prevent Cancer Foundation have a much more serious mission, and we hope that this ongoing campaign can help fund research grants and make a difference and a brighter future for all of us."
Additionally, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, VP Racing Fuels doubles the contribution from each pink jug sold.