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 is participating in Shell's Giving Pump campaign to support Ronald McDonald House Charities Hawaii. Starting Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, designated gas pumps at select stations across the state will donate 1 cent per gallon of fuel sold to the nonprofit.
Aloha Petroleum has been a long-time supporter of the organization, volunteering to cook breakfast and lunches for patients and their families and donating house supplies on multiple occasions.
"Aloha is committed to our employees and customers and believes in giving back to the communities that we serve," said Casie Bui, Aloha Petroleum's senior manager of sales operations and marketing.
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
The Simón Bolívar Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit private foundation of CITGO, released its 2021 annual report, which highlights charitable grants for vulnerable people in and from Venezuela, as part of the foundation's ongoing commitment to transparency and good corporate governance. This is the second time it has issued a public report.
The Simón Bolívar Foundation awarded grants to several humanitarian health organizations, including:
$663,325 to support four charitable projects that will help improve the health conditions of Venezuelan and other migrants in Colombia. Other projects include the development of medical infrastructure for Venezuelan and other migrants, nutrition programs in public schools, and improved maternal health care.
A $1 million grant agreement with Global Giving to manage grantmaking and provide funds to dependable, high-impact community support charitable organizations in Venezuela; conduct a funding needs assessment; and provide capacity building to smaller organizations in Venezuela.
"We're proud to share the progress we've made during the last year toward fulfilling the vision and mission we set out in 2020," said Mariela Poleo, president of the Simón Bolívar Foundation. "Our new focus on grantmaking to recognized nonprofits and research partners has allowed us to expand access to health care and nutrition to a greater number of people affected by Venezuela's humanitarian crisis. Continuous improvements to our grantmaking process, governance, and strategy will allow us to continue to broaden our impact in 2022."
In 2021, commitments totaled $3.4 million, with 56.8 percent going to high-impact charitable grants, 39.4 percent going to individual patient medical grants, and 3.8 percent going to administration. These amounts exclude in-kind donations from CITGO Petroleum Corp.
Enmarket and Veteran Carriers participated in the Feed a Trucker Campaign, giving $8 vouchers for a free fresh meal at the retailer's Pooler, Ga., location on June 13.
"Enmarket never closed its doors during the lockdown. As an essential business, our employees were there, selling gas and food," said Matt Clements, president of Enmarket. "The convenience store chain was delighted to participate. But we couldn't have done it without truckers keeping us supplied, so we are pleased to join this expression of appreciation."
The Pooler location is one of Enmarket's commercial trucking locations and is ideally suited to serve big rigs serving the Georgia Ports Authority.
"Throughout 2020 and 2021, truckers have kept us fed and supplied, even during the darkest and most frightening days of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Cliff White, president of Veteran Carriers. "We wanted to do something, however small, to acknowledge the sacrifice and determination these truckers have demonstrated.
"We wanted it to be for all truckers, not just our own drivers, and we worked out a way for volunteer groups like the Veterans Council of Chatham County to participate so that the truckers will know the community at large appreciates them," White added.
Last month, Sheetz held its annual month of in-store fundraising to support its Sheetz For the Kidz, an employee-driven charity supporting underprivileged children. Customers at Sheetz's 651 stores supported kids in their local communities by adding donations to their purchase at the point of sale and through donation boxes near the register.
Sheetz For the Kidz was founded in 1992 to provide children in need the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with gifts such as new toys, clothes and other basic needs. The charity partners with The Salvation Army, who selects families within each store's community to participate in the program. In 2021, Sheetz For the Kidz supported more than 10,000 kids in the communities that Sheetz operates.
In 2005, Sheetz For the Kidz expanded its scope of operation and partnered with Make-A-Wish to grant wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. In 2021, the charity sponsored 58 children.
In 2019, to broaden its connection in the communities we serve, Sheetz For the Kidz partnered with Feeding America to provide food to kids in need through food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal programs. In 2021, a $640,000 contribution was made to support local child-hunger programs.
Sheetz For the Kidz is a nonprofit organization, designated as a 501(c) (3) charity, independent of Sheetz.
Stewart's Shops continues to support the Saratoga Children's Museum as the museum opened the doors to its new location in the Lincoln Baths Building in Saratoga Spa State Park, N.Y.
Last year, Stewart's Shops/The Dake Family donated $250,000 to support the museum's capital campaign, which allowed the museum to expand after being in the same location for more than 30 years. The newly expanded Children's Museum features dozens of exciting and educational exhibits for children and parents in the Saratoga Springs area.
Stewart's Shops has supported the Children's Museum for more than 20 years and is honored to have a dedicated exhibit featuring an ice cream parlor at the museum, the convenience store retailer stated. The exhibit features authentic Stewart's Shops details, including one of its iconic booths and an interactive Make Your Own Sundae station for the kids.
TravelCenters of America Inc.
TravelCenters of America (TA) is holding its third annual Round Up campaign for the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF).
From July 1 through Sept. 1, guests at participating TA, Petro and TA Express locations can round up their purchases to the nearest dollar. The difference will be donated to SCF to help support truck drivers in need of assistance if injury or illness has taken them off the road within the last year.
"Providing support for the hardworking men and women who keep our country moving has always been a top priority for everyone at TA," said Jon Pertchik, CEO of TA. "While TA can provide truckers with everything they need when they are on the road, it is the amazing team at SCF that helps them when they are sidelined and cannot be on the road."
Since 2010, TA has raised more than $3 million through campaigns and initiatives for SCF.
"We are so grateful for the longstanding relationship with the team at TravelCenters of America and for all the support they have given us over the past 12 years," said Shannon Currier, director of philanthropy at SCF. "Drivers both at home and on the road need our support and the support of our amazing partners and sponsors."
The Wills Group
The Wills Group invested more than $130,000 to transform Phoenix Run Park in La Plata, Md., supported by hundreds of volunteer hours across the Phoenix Park community and the Wills Group. Ruppert Landscaping, Federal Health, MJH Project and Rowe Signs also contributed to the park transformation.
Major contributions to the park design and enhancements were also made by Stella's Girls, the Dorchester Community Alliance, then Neighborhood Design Center and Keep La Plata Beautiful.
The park revitalization, which took two years to complete, now includes vibrant, art-inspired basketball courts, walking paths, landscaping and seating areas that create a community destination for families.
"The Wills Group is proud to be part of a collective effort to create a community space that is vibrant and welcoming for children and families," said Julian B. (Blackie) Wills, III, president and chief operating officer of the Wills Group. "This project represents our renewed commitment to reimagining outdoor spaces with and for our local communities, and highlights what can happen when we work together to create what's possible to strengthen our communities."
The Wills Group is known for its Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash and SMO Motor Fuels brands.