NATIONAL REPORT — Giving back through community service efforts and charity donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of this industry moving ahead. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News will highlight these philanthropic efforts in this special section.
Here are the latest company spotlights, highlighting initiatives specific to the 2015 holiday season.
Diageo North America
Employees from Diageo North America gave back this holiday season by participating in a variety of volunteer programs and fundraising efforts across a number of the company’s locations. Initiatives spanned Connecticut, Kentucky, Illinois, New York and Canada, and included donating gifts, supplies and funds to families in need; volunteering to provide sober rides to holiday partygoers; and hosting festivities for local families.
Diageo 100, the flagship event for the company, involved 100 employees hosting a holiday party for hundreds of local children. Diageo hosted the ninth-annual event, Children’s Holiday Party, at the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum in Norwalk, Conn. The event benefited four local charities.
In addition, in conjunction with long-time Diageo partner and local agency Person-to-Person, Diageo employees set up and staffed a pop-up toy store, where families in need “shopped” for a free gift and book for their children.
Staying true to company tradition, GSP gave to several charities this holiday season, including Give Kids The World Village, United Cerebral Palsy, American Red Cross and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
GSP has been supporting the nonprofit Give Kids The World Village for more than five years. The 79-acre resort in Central Florida provides weeklong, cost-free, fantasy vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Hunt Brothers Pizza
This holiday season. Hunt Brothers Pizza held an inaugural Christmas Coloring Contest as a way to raise money for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Consumers were invited to color in the graphics on the front and back of limited-edition Hunt Brothers Pizza boxes and submit a photo of their artwork online for entry into the contest. For each picture submitted, Hunt Brothers made a donation to Toys for Tots.
This was the first time Hunt Brothers Pizza partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. A check for the total amount raised, $7,300, was presented to the organization following the contest.
Forty-five volunteers from QuickChek’s headquarters in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and various stores sorted 450 boxes of food equaling 10,125 pounds during a two-and-a-half-hour shift at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. This was the third time in 2015 that QuickChek team members volunteered at the food bank, which distributes 43 million pounds of food each year to more than 1,000 nonprofit programs to feed 900,000 hungry people in 18 New Jersey counties.
QuickChek was also a campaign partner of Check-Out Hunger, an annual fundraiser by the Community FoodBank of New Jersey that takes place every autumn at most major supermarkets and convenience stores throughout New Jersey. Shoppers at each of QuickChek’s 143 stores could donate $1, $3 or $5 at checkout during the campaign, which ran through Dec. 19. The c-store retailer raised $125,000 during its 2014 Check-Out Hunger campaign.
Sheetz Family Charities hosted “For The Kidz” holiday parties for more than 8,000 underprivileged kids across the East Coast in partnership with the Salvation Army. At the parties, Santa greeted the children and presented them with new toys, clothes and other basic needs purchased specifically for them.
This year also marked the 10th consecutive year of Sheetz Family Charities joining Make-A-Wish to sponsor families of seriously ill children so they can experience a weeklong dream vacation in Orlando, Fla. Forty-eight families will enjoy a free vacation at Give Kids The World Village, the nonprofit storybook resort designed to provide special facilities for seriously ill children and their families while on their Disney vacation.
Since its inception in 1992, Sheetz Family Charities has raised more than $18 million and helped more than 85,000 individuals.
Stewart’s Shops’ Holiday Match program raised a record $870,000 in donations in 2015, resulting in a donation of $1.74 million to children’s charities. The annual program runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day, with Stewart’s Shops matching donations made by customers at all 332 Stewart’s Shops stores in upstate New York and western Vermont.
The total raised in 2015 was a 12-percent increase from the record $1.54 million raised in 2014.
To celebrate this holiday season, Synder’s-Lance introduced snack offerings like chocolate-covered pretzels, festive cookies and flavored popcorn, with partial proceeds from the sale of these items benefitting families in need through a partnership with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
Select retailers had specially-marked Toys for Tots displays in their stores with snacks from Synder’s of Hanover, Lance, Cape Cod, Archway and Stella D’oro. For the first 500,000 packages sold, Synder’s-Lance made a contribution to support Toys for Tots for $25,000.
TravelCenters of America LLC
TravelCenters once again participated in Wreaths Across America (WAA), a not-for-profit charity that delivers remembrance wreaths to military cemeteries all over the country annually. In conjunction with the Truckload Carriers Association’s coordination of wreath deliveries, TA’s in-house distribution group, Over The Road Distribution, participated in picking up and delivering wreaths from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Along the route to Arlington, trucks carrying wreath-escort vehicles and veterans invited by Wreaths Across America stopped at the Petro Stopping Centers location in Bordentown, N.J. The drivers and vets were served dinner.
TravelCenters has been coordinating the nationwide effort of organizing professional truck driver and motor carrier donations of trucks, time and fuel for the WAA annual event since 2012.
This past Christmas, Weigel’s partnered with the Salvation Army to bring joy to 200 underprivileged children from Knoxville, Tenn., and the surrounding area. The children ranged in age from five to nine years old and were each given $150 for a Christmas shopping spree at North Knoxville’s Kmart store.
Prior to shopping, more than 400 volunteers prepared a complimentary breakfast for the children in the Salvation Army gymnasium. Many volunteers stayed at the gym to prepare lunch, while others went to Kmart to meet and help the children manage their money and handpick gifts.
Every year, the Salvation Army selects deserving children and Weigel’s organizes the event and provides funding. Since the program’s inception in 1998, it has impacted more than 3,200 children.