Community Service Spotlight: C-store Industry Continues Momentum Around COVID-19 Relief Efforts
NATIONAL REPORT — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt every area of modern-day life, convenience store retailers and suppliers know that giving back through community service efforts and charitable donations is a positive force that will keep the channel moving forward.
In this special edition of Community Service Spotlight, Convenience Store News highlights these philanthropic efforts. Here are the latest company spotlights:
American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association (APCA) identified organizations around California to deliver much-needed masks, food and donations to frontline workers, nonprofit staff and volunteers.
The organization distributed 12,000 masks to: the Catholic Charities Family Support Center in Santa Rosa; Sonoma County Sheriff's Office; Solano County Emergency Services; Sacramento Police Department; Tri-City Food Pantry and Thrift Store in Fremont; Second Harvest Silicon Valley; and the Modesto Police Department.
Additionally, members of the association collected funds to donate $12,500 to the Central California Food Bank in Fresno; $5,000 to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services; $5,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank serving San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties; and $1,000 to the Twin Lakes Food Bank in Folsom.
"During our conversations with these organizations, we heard supplies of masks were extremely low or nonexistent. We recognized that we were in a unique position to identify alternative sources for some of these supplies, and we got to work," said Jivtesh Gill, chairman, APCA. "Deemed 'essential businesses' by the Department of Homeland Security, our members' 1,400 convenience stores and gas stations have remained open, and they've maintained access to suppliers. Despite catastrophically low fuel sales and an inside sales decline, our members displayed their resilience and desire for community wellbeing and were able to distribute much-needed supplies to meet critical needs."
Casey's General Stores
The Ankeny, Iowa-based convenience retailer is investing $500,000 to Feeding America, which will support 52 food banks across Casey's 16-state footprint. The initiative builds upon the retailer's recent donation of nearly 40,000 pounds of in-kind food product to two Feeding America member food banks.
The partnership will also support Feeding America through a future in-store donation campaign, volunteer efforts and further in-kind food donations.
"Joining forces with Feeding America is a natural reflection of how we live our purpose by being here for good. At Casey's, we are at the heart of each community we serve, and our communities face a great need for food," said Darren Rebelez, CEO of Casey's General Stores. "This multi-faceted partnership allows us to help quickly provide meals in our communities while also creating a program for long-term support of youth and family hunger programs."
Following a pledge made in early April to provide one meal for every fuel transaction made at a Circle K, the retailer has achieved and surpassed its goal of donating 25 million meals to local food banks across the country.
"We are proud to have reached a donation of 25 million meals through our partnership with Feeding America, and to extend our support to 40 million meals in this time of tremendous need in our communities," says Brian Hannasch, President and CEO of Circle K. "I want to thank all of our employees and customers for being part of the solution in the communities where we work and live, and for helping Circle K make it easier for so many families in need during these difficult days. As we are all in this together, I am grateful we can turn to them to reach this new goal of 40 million meals."
The Clipper Petroleum Foundation is providing $40,000 of unrestricted grants to five nonprofits in the north Georgia area, including: The Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Straight Street Ministries Backpack Love, The Good News Clinic, White County BackPack Buddies and Oconee Area Resource Council.
"Given the challenges and unprecedented demand that these organizations are having due to COVID-19, our board was compelled to take action," said Haley Bower, Clipper Petroleum Foundation director.
Core-Mark International Inc.
Working in alliance with American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), Core-Mark's regional distribution center in Forrest City, Ark., is donating the use of several of its drivers, trucks and temperature-controlled trailers to deliver perishable and non-perishable food provided by donors, such as suddenly overstocked restaurant suppliers, to the Arkansas Foodbank.
Beginning in May, the Core-Mark team regularly transports the donated food from Arkansas Foodbank's warehouse in Little Rock to food pantries, soup kitchens, churches and other centers in a 33-county service area. The first two delivery runs hauled 11,069 pounds of food to Choctaw Food Bank in Van Buren County and 8,188 pounds to Food Bank of the Delta in West Helena.
FERRARA CANDY CO. INC.
Ferrara donated 20 tons of candy and cookies to date as a way to thank frontline workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation is the equivalent of 500,000 servings, according to the company.
"We continue to deliver on our mission of sharing delight in every bite through in-kind donations to healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19," Ferrara CEO Todd Siwak said. "To date, we have proudly donated more than 40,000 pounds of our products, including candy and cookies, in and around the communities where we live and work."
Holmes Oil Co. Inc.
Holmes Oil, operator of 26 Cruizers stores throughout central North Carolina, donated $5,000 to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels (CHCMOW). These funds will help the nonprofit deliver meals to food-insecure and home-bound members of the community.
"Meals on Wheels cares for some of our most vulnerable community members," said Edward Holmes, president and CEO of Holmes Oil. "Our corporate culture is wholeheartedly committed to giving back, and we’ve been proud to support them every year since 2017. With the devastating effects of the pandemic on our community, they need our support now more than ever."
Of Cruizers' $5,000 donation, $4,500 was provided via check to help cover the organization’s expenses, and $500 in ExxonMobil gift cards was given to help cover the fuel costs for deliveries.
Krispy Krunchy Chicken
Krispy Krunchy Chicken and New Orleans Pelicans rookie center Jaxson Hayes are teaming up to provide 500 meals to frontline workers. The meals will be distributed to members of the environmental services crew at Ochsner Health facilities across southeast Louisiana.
"Krispy Krunchy Chicken is proud to partner with Jaxson Hayes and the New Orleans Pelicans to feed the Ochsner front line workers who help keep us safe," said Allison Shapiro Dandry, director of Communication and Technology for Krispy Krunchy Chicken.
Little General Stores
Little General Stores launched the Free Lunch program for school-aged children affected by recent school closures. It was available at all branded food operations, including:
- Any Little General-owned Taco Bell offered two free tacos from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Any Little General-owned Arby’s offered a classic roast beef and kid's fry from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Any Little General-owned Godfather’s Pizza offered a free slice of pizza from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Any Little General-owned Burger King offered a cheeseburger and kid’s fry from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Any Little General-owned Subway offered a 6-inch turkey, black forest ham, cold cut, or veggie sub from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Little General-owned Steak Escape location in Fairmont, W. Va., offered free chicken nibblers and fries from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"I've said it before in regards to helping out in the communities and we say it internally a lot as well, 'If you can, you should,'" said Greg Darby, president. "The local schools did a great job getting lunches out as well, but we knew we could help out, so we quickly created the program and got it in place. We're just grateful to be in a position to help our communities and thankful for our staff, being out in the front lines facing the challenge during such uncertainty."
To date, Little General has given more than $100,000 worth of free lunches and will be continuing the program throughout the month of May.
Throughout the month of May, Loop Neighborhood offered free lunches to school children 18 years of age and younger in response to school closures. The lunch includes a free slice of pizza and a bottle of water, and was available Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The promotion is available at 30 participating Loop Neighborhood locations for a limited time only, while supplies last.
Parker's recently donated more than 7,000 KN95 masks to frontline healthcare providers at hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout coastal Georgia and South Carolina.
In Georgia, Parker's donated: 2,000 masks were donated to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; 800 masks to St. Joseph's/Candler in Savannah; 600 masks to Liberty Regional Hospital in Hinesville; 600 masks to East Georgia Regional Hospital in Statesboro; 600 masks to Effingham Hospital in Springfield; 400 masks to Candler County Hospital in Metter; 80 masks to Allcare Healthcare in Lyons; and 50 masks to Savannah OBGYN. Parker's also plans to donate 300 masks to Hospice Savannah.
In South Carolina, the company has donated 800 masks to Beaufort Memorial Hospital in Beaufort, and 180 masks to Pruitt Health in Moncks Corner. Parker's will also donate 700 masks to Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston.
"We're deeply grateful to all the doctors, nurses, clinicians and staff who are providing exceptional healthcare to area residents throughout the coronavirus pandemic," said Parker's founder and CEO Greg Parker. "We know there have been mask shortages throughout the region and want to make sure area healthcare workers have the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe while caring for patients."
The PepsiCo Foundation launched an initiative to provide increased medical and economic aid to communities of color across the country where the company has long worked. The $7 million initiative is a comprehensive project to support immediate relief and long-term recovery.
The program will provide $1 million each to the National Urban League and UnidosUS to help feed families and seniors, increase medical care and testing, expand access to government support and provide technology for remote education and work, with a portion of the funds focused on post-recovery relief.
An additional $5 million will go to local nonprofit partners to provide support and services that meet the specific needs of Black and Latino communities, including:
- COVID-19 testing and screening
- Access to affordable nutrition
- Healthcare services
- Education, job training and business resources
- Economic and childcare assistance
- Family and senior housing
The PepsiCo Foundation is also providing a $100,000 grant to the Farmworkers Pandemic Relief Fund, providing critical emergency assistance to America's farmworkers who are supporting our food supply during the pandemic, many of whom are vulnerable.
"COVID-19 has once again put a spotlight on the deep-rooted health and economic disparities that have long faced communities of color," said Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America. "In response to this, we're helping to provide immediate relief and support long-term recovery for Black and Latino communities. But just as these inequities existed well before coronavirus, we will continue to do our part and be a partner to these communities in the months and years ahead."
This initiative builds on PepsiCo's more than $50 million global commitment to provide vital support to those impacted by COVID-19.
Since the beginning of March, Rutter's has donated more than $50,000 worth of food and beverages to the Central Penn Food Bank. Donated items are packaged as meals to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for families in the Central Penn Food Bank's program.
"Our company was founded in the food industry, so we understand the importance of providing our communities with access to nutritious meals," said Scott Hartman, Rutter's president and CEO. "We hope our continued donations are able to provide peace of mind for local families during these trying times."
The Pennsylvania-based retailer expanded its Kidz Meal Bagz program, providing free food to help children and families in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meal Bagz are now be available at all 600 Sheetz locations and will be available all day, while supplies last. The Meal Bagz include a turkey sandwich, chips and a drink.
Families interested in taking advantage of the free Kidz Meal Bagz program can go to any Sheetz location and ask an employee for a meal at the register or through the drive-through. Families will be offered one bag per child.
"The response from the launch of this program has been huge," said Travis Sheetz, president and chief operating officer of Sheetz. "As we expand this program, we are staying connected to our communities to try and understand the need, as meals are available while supplies last on a daily basis. It is our hope that these meals will provide nourishment to those who need it most during these challenging times. With this expansion, we will be giving away roughly 80,000 meals per week across the communities we serve."
The program will be available for the next two weeks at which time it will be reevaluated based on community need.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Shell has prioritized directly supporting the local populations where it operates with donations and relief efforts focusing on grassroots and regional organizations. Among some of its efforts are:
Fuel Rewards member support
- Gold Status has been extended to Fuel Rewards members through 2021
- From May to June, the Shell More for Member giveaway is offering support and relief to Fuel Rewards Members with the chance to win one of 14,000 prizes in the form of Shell, Dunkin and Mastercard gift cards
Food & care support
- Providing 2.5 million meals to impacted communities in support of Feeding America
- The Permian Basin team donated to West Texas Food Bank helping them meet a 40 percent increase in demand for their services
- The Shell Deep Water team is helping to bridge the gap for at risk youth participating in the Café Reconcile program as their opportunities for work in the hospitality industry have been suspended. The team is also partnering with Second Harvest to provide food relief throughout New Orleans including 1,000 meals daily for seniors, 1,200-plus to-go meals for children, as well as helping service industry personnel impacted by restaurant closures
- The Shell Convent team is lending their support to local hospitals, emergency operation centers, first responders and front-line workers by providing hundreds of appreciation meals from local restaurants to show their continued support of local institutions
Response & care support
- Offering 250,000 "GO WELL" face masks free of charge to customers and Shell site staff across the country in areas of need
- Donating 1 ton of mT isopropyl alcohol to utilize in the manufacturing of disinfectant wipes for hospitals and prep of COVID-19 tests and vaccine research
- The Shell lubricants team has blended their plant operations to produce bottles of hand sanitizer for customers and to donate to local and state health, community and emergency response organizations
Stewart’s Shops President Gary Dake and local media group Two Buttons Deep partnered to give back in the form of a mask competition. Two Button’s Deep team members showcased their creative mask designs. The winner, chosen by Dake, selects an organization of his or her choosing for him to donate $500 to.