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07/06/2021

Community Service Spotlight: Alta Convenience, Ferrera Candy Co. & GetGo

Efforts support local charities, sustainability and the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
EG America and the 1,700 convenience stores it operates is launching a national campaign to raise funds for Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

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:

Alta Convenience

Alta Convenience showed its continued support for Wings for Life USA – Spinal Cord Research Foundation Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation with a mission to find the cure for spinal cord injury. The convenience retailer raised $40,000 during a promotional period in which customers were encouraged to buy a paper "red wing" with their name on it to be posted around its 105 convenience stores.

The latest contribution builds upon Alta's $30,000 raised in 2019.

Circle K

Since May of the 2020 campaign to support the American Red Cross, customers at participating Circle K stores donated their spare change to raise more than $286,883.

"Circle K is thankful to our very generous customers, staff, and vendors who support Red Cross services in communities, where our employees and customers live, as together we help people prepare for and respond to disasters locally and across the nation," said Melanie Svinis, brand & advertising manager, Circle K Coastal Carolinas. "The longstanding partnership between Circle K Coastal Carolinas and the Red Cross continues to benefit our communities year after year."

Enmarket

Savannah, Ga.-based Enmarket teamed up with trucking firm Veteran Carriers to celebrate a particular group of heroes from the COVID-19 pandemic — the trucking community.

Through the Feed a Trucker program, on the first Friday of each month for the rest of the year, truckers can pull into Enmarket on Pine Barren Road and Highway 80 — one of the c-store chain's commercial trucking locations — and receive a free boxed lunch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Enmarket's The Eatery. The first group of participating volunteers will be the Veterans Council of Chatham County.

"Enmarket never closed its doors during the lockdown. As an essential business, our employees were there, selling gas and food. But we couldn’t have done it without truckers keeping us supplied, so we are pleased to join this expression of appreciation," said Brett Giesick, president of Enmarket.

Enmarket operates 129 convenience stores, 14 quick-serve restaurants and two fast casual restaurants in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

EG Group

EG America and the 1,700 convenience stores it operates is launching a national campaign to raise funds for Disabled American Veterans (DAV). The donations will help DAV ensure that injured and ill veterans access the full range of benefits available to them.

Starting June 23 and running through July, store employees will ask customers to donate an amount of their choosing to DAV during checkout. Funds donated to DAV help veterans get access to:

  • The benefits they deserve
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Meaningful employment
  • Assistance during times of disaster

The c-stores participating in the promotion include Cumberland Farms, Certified Oil, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf 'N Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill. Their goal is to raise more than $250,000 for DAV.

"Recognizing and giving back to those who have served our country is vitally important to the EG Group, which is why we are proud to partner with DAV in this important initiative," said George Fournier, president of EG America. "Additionally, many of our team members and guests are veterans themselves, so this association with DAV allows them to connect with the communities where they live and work in a meaningful way. This fundraising effort hits home for the EG Group and we're looking forward to our guests playing a key role in this effort."

Ferrera Candy Co.

Black Forest, a leading candy and snack brand inspired by real forests, is in the third year of its partnership with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) in support of the ongoing efforts to replant forests across America. Building on that partnership, Black Forest has set a new aspirational long-range target to plant 10 million trees by 2030.  

This year, the brand is working with Kelly Rowland to help spread the word of this ongoing effort and the importance of restoring our forests. 

"I've always enjoyed the tranquility of being able to escape into nature and the great outdoors," Rowland said. "That's one of the reasons I’m such a big supporter of Black Forest’s ambition to plant 10 million trees by 2030."

This new aspiration of 10 million trees planted by 2030 reflects Black Forest's long-term, purpose-led commitments. The brand is the first in the gummy candy and fruit snack category to commit to becoming a more sustainable brand across packaging, partnerships and production. Other elements of Black Forest's purpose-led pledge include: 

  • By 2022, all products in the Black Forest portfolio will use colors and flavors from real sources, including turmeric, black carrot juice, black currant juice, carrot juice, purple sweet potato juice, cherry juice and radish juice. 
  • A commitment to move to fully sustainable packaging by 2025. The packaging will be recyclable reusable, or compostable, while still maintaining the freshness and quality consumers have come to expect. 
  • Reducing environmental impact by working to lower carbon emissions, water use and waste. 

Fresh Del Monte

Fresh Del Monte, one of North America's leading marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, launched the "Bunch of Good" campaign emphasizing the company's corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts for making a better tomorrow, while inviting consumers to learn more and participate in this initiative.

The campaign first rolls out new "Bunch of Good" produce stickers and tags for its bananas and pineapples, which will display several unique facts highlighting Fresh Del Monte's commitment to communities, education, ecosystems, healthcare, wildlife preservation and much more.

Through this new initiative, Fresh Del Monte strives to showcase the organization's commitment to doing "a bunch of good” worldwide, while building a sustainable future. The brand’s six “bunch of good" efforts featured on the banana stickers are:

  1. A bunch of good for food banks in the USA — Nearly 15 million pounds of fresh produce donated and distributed
  2. A bunch of good for education in the Philippines — Offer scholarships to ensure students get access to the education they deserve
  3. A bunch of good for healthcare in Kenya — Funds six medicals center for a population of roughly 28,000 people
  4. A bunch of good for rainforests in Central America — Designated nearly 10,000 hectares as protected areas to promote biodiversity
  5. A bunch of good for the wildlife in Central America — Protects more than 600 wildlife species
  6. A bunch of good for people, produce, planet

Fresh Del Monte is also encouraging consumers to do their part by becoming "bananefactors," joining the Bunch of Good Society and attempting to spread goodness to many. Consumers can simply visit ABunchOfGood.com to take the vow to make the world a better place, having their name added to the society with the goal to create the biggest society with the longest name in history. One lucky "bananefactor" will be selected at random to win an all-expense-paid trip to the Feeding America headquarters in Chicago to represent the society with a $10,000 donation.

"We are proud of our ongoing community and sustainability efforts, as Fresh Del Monte prides itself on its corporate social responsibility," said Pablo Rivero, vice president, marketing North America. "Giving back to our communities and making strides with sustainability are just two of our company's core values. We not only strive to conduct our business in ethical, socially responsible and transparent ways, but want our consumers to feel good about the food they are eating while enjoying Fresh Del Monte."

GetGo Café + Market

As part of its commitment to the arts, GetGo Café + Market announced that Pittsburgh-area artist Ashanté Josey is the winner of its Spiked Slushies Cup Design Artwork Contest, with her winning design being featured on cups later this summer. After, the retailer presented the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council with a $5,000 donation to support programming.

GetGo also donated to the Arts Council, champions of the arts in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Arts Council provides financial and professional support for the arts and culture sector and is comprised of more than 500 diverse artists and nonprofit organizations.

"The GetGo team appreciates the beauty art brings to our communities we live and work in and we’re proud to be able to bring some of that to our guests this summer through Ashante’s art," said GetGo Vice President and Chief Merchant Jon Cox. "As we look to the future, we’re also excited to expand our relationship with the arts community in partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council."

One of its Spiked Slushie partners, Seagram’s Escapes Spiked, matched GetGo’s $5,000 donation to the Arts Council.

"The Arts inspire creativity, self-expression and fun! As we reopen the Arts, Seagram’s Escapes Spiked will invest in the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, which helps to make our community beautiful, creative, diverse and unique," said Mary Beth Popp, vice president of corporate and brand communications, The Seagram Beverage Co.

The financial donations will be used to support general programming at the Arts Council, including professional development opportunities for artists, arts leaders, and organizations wanting to grow their skills and advance their practice.

GPM Investments

GPM Investments LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arko Corp., recently sponsored Friendship Circle of Virginia’s inaugural Walk N' Roll. Taking place on Sunday, June 20, GPM's fas mart stores helped raise $23,326 for the local Richmond, Va.-based nonprofit organization, which aims to create an inclusive community by facilitating friendships and social opportunities for people with and without disabilities to connect through meaningful social experiences at home and throughout the community.

More than 250 individuals participated in the event, which encouraged participants to walk, roll, scooter, or skate to raise money for the Friendship Circle of Virginia. GPM supported the event by providing fas mart Fuel Up stations around the course as well as a petting zoo, pony rides, snow cones, cotton candy, swag bags, and more.

"We truly enjoy working with organizations in our community," said GPM Investments Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Michael Bloom. "We're proud to have been an event sponsor for the inaugural Walk N' Roll event and help support local non-profits in Richmond and we look forward to more opportunities to partner in the future."

The Hershey Co.

Hershey released its 2020 Sustainability report, highlighting its progress on key environmental and social initiatives during a year of unprecedented challenges. The report reviews the company's holistic sustainability strategy — known as its Shared Goodness Promise — which includes initiatives across the enterprise and value chain such as responsible sourcing, respecting human rights, climate action, employee wellbeing, diversity, equity and inclusion, and community engagement.

"2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges and hardship for us all, but also one of opportunity. At Hershey, our purpose — to make more moments of goodness — and our values of togetherness, integrity, excellence and making a difference, grounded our every effort as we put goodness into action by looking after one another and working together each and every day to make a positive impact," said Michele Buck, chairman, president and CEO of The Hershey Co. "I am tremendously proud of the progress we made and the accelerated actions we took across ESG. There remains more work ahead for us, but by continuing to put our people first and focusing on what matters most to all of our stakeholders, we are confident about the future."

Notable milestones highlighted in Hershey's 2020 Sustainability Report include:

Managing Through COVID-19

The company invested $1 million to convert traditional manufacturing operations to produce more than 40 million masks, a portion of which were donated to community organizations and schools in its hometown of Hershey, Pa. It also provided incremental incentives and appreciation pay to its frontline workers in manufacturing and retail workers globally, enhanced its facilities with new safety equipment to allow for physical distancing and procured personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer for employees and suppliers alike.

Recognizing the dramatic shift for employees working from home, Hershey offered new family-friendly benefits to employees and flexible calendar management to balance added responsibilities. To make an impact on a global scale, Hershey joined forces with its partners in Ghana, Belize and Mexico to educate sugar and cocoa farmers on safety guidelines and best practices to help these communities stay resilient and healthy.

Sourcing Cocoa Responsibly

In 2020, Hershey achieved its 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa commitment made in 2011 and further committed to 100 percent direct sourcing of all cocoa from Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana by 2025, enabling the company to have greater visibility and impact into where and how its cocoa is grown. Through its Cocoa For Good strategy, Hershey will continue its focus on supporting cocoa farmers and their families to be able to live healthy, prosperous lives in thriving ecosystems.

Strengthening Climate Action

Hershey set science-based targets to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent across Scope 1 and 2, and 25 percent across Scope 3 by 2030 compared to 2018. The company detailed operational plans it is pursuing to deliver these goals including the development of renewable energy, investing in energy efficiency, improving the environmental sustainability of its packaging, working to stop land-use change in the agriculture production of ingredients and harnessing the passion of its employees on sustainability through new Green Teams that were launched during the year.

Additionally, the company released its inaugural Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures report, detailing how Hershey incorporates considerations of climate risks and opportunities into its business. It concluded 2020 with a 23.7 percent improvement in Scope 1 and 2 emissions and a 12.6 percent improvement in Scope 3 emissions against its baseline.

Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Hershey accelerated its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion with a refreshed enterprise inclusion strategy, new trainings, educational and career development resources for employees, and a $1.5 million investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide scholarships for underrepresented populations. The company also introduced new commitments to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, with a goal of increasing the representation of people of color to 30 percent to 40 percent amongst its U.S. employees and of women globally to 47 percent to 50 percent by 2025.

Last year, Hershey achieved 1:1 aggregate gender pay equity and by early 2021, achieved 1:1 aggregate pay equity for salaried people of color in the United States. Hershey seeks to maintain these existing achievements and has set a goal to achieve 1:1 pay equity for salaried employees worldwide. 

Hershey set additional leadership representation goals and disclosed its workforce diversity data. The company will achieve these commitments through The Pathways Project, a new enterprise strategy focused on inclusive hiring practices, targeted retention and advancement efforts and community engagement initiatives.

Kum & Go LC

Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go partnered with No Kid Hungry to tackle food insecurity and hunger. The convenience operator is working with Midwest Dairy, BODYARMOR, KIND, LifeWtr, and Essentia throughout the summer in an effort to raise $85,000 to give back to the communities it serves.

"Thirteen million children in the United States live in food insecure homes," said Kum & Go Philanthropy Manager Emily Bahnsen. "It is a privilege for Kum & Go to be part of this program with a host of generous vendors who are committed to a better tomorrow."