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:
To support first responders, doctors, nurses and medical workers, BP is offering a discount of up to 15 cents per gallon on every fill up at BP and Amoco stations for 60 days. Program sign up is available through bp.com/localheroes and rewards can be used at the pump with the BPme app for no-contact payment.
"Healthcare workers are saving lives every day across America and bp wants to thank them by helping to get them where they need to be," said Nicola Buck, head of marketing, BP. "The response to our earlier offer was overwhelming and we’re proud to continue supporting our community heroes through this pandemic."
The offer is in addition to the more than $8 million in fuel discounts issued by BP since April to 650,000 responders and medical workers, and builds on the company's donation of 3 million gallons of jet fuel to ensure personal protective equipment and other essential goods are delivered efficiently to U.S. communities.
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
In an effort to assist vulnerable communities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Simón Bolívar Foundation, the nonprofit, private foundation of CITGO Petroleum, is launching a food drive program called "Hoy Invita Simón," an initiative that will provide grants of up to $50,000 on a rolling basis to qualified nonprofits to develop food assistance projects.
The objective of "Hoy Invita Simón" is to offer nutritional food access to communities in need without discrimination, while aiming to reach members of the Venezuelan diaspora and other vulnerable populations, according to the company.
Online applications for the "Hoy Invita Simón" program opened June 19 and closed July 3. Qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organizations were invited to present proposals that could range from a one-day food drive to a multi-week food supply program to families in need. Grantees will be selected through a review process based on their potential community impact, cost-effectiveness, and implementation plan among other criteria.
A pilot run for "Hoy Invita Simón" was conducted during the last week of May in two cities in the United States with a significant presence of the Venezuelan diaspora: Doral, Fla., and Houston.
"The Foundation partnered with local nonprofits and Venezuelan restaurants to provide hot meals to families impacted by the pandemic," said Mariela Poleo, president of the Simón Bolívar Foundation. The success of the pilot program confirmed the need for this type of initiative to help the Venezuelan diaspora in the United States “because the response was strong and immediate. We quickly worked to create the framework to accommodate an open call to more organizations interested in developing similar efforts in more cities."
Clif Bar & Co.
Clif Bar's CLIF, CLIF Kid and LUNA Bar donations now total 14 million bars in an additional wave of donations to help feed families most affected by food scarcity exacerbated by COVID-19. The company is also doubling its previous seven million bar donation that went to frontline health care workers and first responders, and is distributing another seven million bars to food banks and community organizations that reach U.S. counties most in need this summer.
"Stewart's and the Dake Family believe that nonprofit organizations are essential to the well-being of all our shops' communities. We are committed to helping them provide important services during these challenging times and in the future," said Susan Dake, president of the Stewart's Foundation.
Wawa kicked off a new initiative, "Hoagies for Healthcare Heroes," allowing customers to support hospital workers by ordering a Wawa Shorti on the Wawa App during National Nurses Week (May 6 to May 12).
For every Shorti hoagie purchased, Wawa matched the purchase by donating one Shorti hoagie coupon to a hospital worker (up to 50,000 hoagies coupons) throughout its operating area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.
"Wawa is always listening to our customers and with an influx of inquiries from individuals wanting to join us in our efforts in supporting local hospital workers chainwide, we saw this as a perfect opportunity to offer our customers an easy way to contribute," said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president and CEO. "We're appreciative of our customers' desire to help the community and think this is a perfect way for all of us together to make a difference during this crisis."
In addition to providing free hoagies, Wawa continued offering free coffee to healthcare workers and first responders through May 31 in all of nearly 900 stores.
Powell, Tenn.-based Weigel's partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee and Second Harvest Food Bank of North East Tennessee to distribute 60,000 gallons of milk to those in need.
"We feel compelled to help our neighbors during this global yet local crisis," said Bill Weigel, chairman for Weigel's. "We're in the food business. Many of our neighbors have lost their jobs and are struggling to put food on their tables, so it seemed natural we could contribute in this way."
Weigel's operate 68 convenience stores, a dairy and a bakery, all within a 100 mile radius of their corporate headquarters.