NATIONAL REPORT — After a series of tornadoes ripped through several states in the Midwest and South — namely Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee — earlier last month, convenience store retailers and suppliers rallied behind disaster relief efforts.
Here, we highlight these philanthropic efforts:
Casey's General Stores Inc.
The Iowa-based convenience store operator collected donations for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief at the register via a round-up campaign across all of its stores in these six states through Dec. 31. It also donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross and is sending a truckload of water to impacted areas.
"The devastation, community uprooting and lives lost due to the tornadoes and storms this past weekend is overwhelming and will require an enormous recovery effort. We have team members and neighbors in these areas in need, and we have been working hard to support them," said Casey's President & CEO Darren Rebelez. "Casey's is making a $10,000 donation and guests can round up their purchase in our stores in these six states to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. When you shop at Casey's, you can help our neighbors recovering from disasters."
Casey's is operator of more than 2,300 convenience stores. It is the third-largest c-store retailer and the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States.
The supermarket and small-format operator sent 37 employee volunteers to Kentucky and Tennessee to assist in recover efforts. Hy-Vee also sent 10 semis filled with snacks and water, six disaster recovery pick-up trucks, and three SUVS, along with a command center. Once they arrive in Mayfield, Ky., volunteers coordinated with local emergency operations centers and nonprofit organizations to distribute the snacks and water.
PepsiCo and its philanthropic arm, The PepsiCo Foundation, committed $300,000 and donations of food and water to provide holistic disaster relief support in partnership with The Salvation Army and Team Rubicon.
Support for the impacted includes:
$150,000 to The Salvation Army from PepsiCo and The PepsiCo Foundation to provide immediate nutrition relief, including 75,000 meals through PepsiCo's Food for Good program and additional grants.
$150,000 to Team Rubicon from PepsiCo, The PepsiCo Foundation and Quaker to provide emergency disaster relief efforts, such as removing debris and rebuilding services in the most vulnerable communities.
In addition, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay brand will be donating five pallets of its products to The Salvation Army in Kentucky and donated 10 pallets of its products to the American Red Cross and Kentucky Emergency Management Services, which supports first responders leading recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas of the state. G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. also donated 2,640 cases of Aquafina water to be distributed throughout Kentucky.
"The loss of life and horrendous damage impacting so many families across the Midwest and Southern U.S. is truly heartbreaking. We are committed to providing immediate relief to those impacted by this horrific series of tornadoes to help them begin to rebuild their lives," said Jon Banner, executive vice president, Global Communications and president of The PepsiCo Foundation. "That's why we are working with our dedicated partners The Salvation Army and Team Rubicon and also mobilizing our own Food for Good operation — to deliver meals and emergency relief. These communities need our support as they face the immediate impacts of the storm and recover in its wake."
The PepsiCo Foundation will also match employee donations to organizations that are providing critical relief for impacted communities, including Team Rubicon, American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. Additionally, The PepsiCo Foundation has activated PEPhelp, an employee-to-employee program to support employees of PepsiCo affected by natural disasters with financial assistance. A local team of employees also created an "Amazon Wishlist" and GoFundMe site for those impacted in FEMA declared counties and certain localities.
"Our communities and employees are at the core of our business, and this catastrophe truly hit us all," said Derek Lewis, president, South Division, PepsiCo Beverages North America. "While we are thankful our employees are safe, there is plenty of work that needs to be done to rebuild our communities and the spirit of our people. Working alongside The Salvation Army and Team Rubicon allows us to deliver on-the-ground emergency support and critical resources, such as food and water. At PepsiCo, we know that we are Stronger Together, and we want to do as much as we can to help support the road to recovery."
The PepsiCo Foundation has a longstanding history of community relief efforts and is a member of the American Red Cross' Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP), granting at least $500,000 annually to ensure the Red Cross can pre-position supplies, secure shelters, maintain vehicles, train volunteers and prepare for future disasters.
Tri Star Energy
Tri Star Energy, the parent company of Twice Daily and White Bison Coffee, is strengthening its existing partnership with the American Red Cross to help those in need in Kentucky after the tornadoes touched down. The company has donated $5,000 to relief efforts and the team raised additional funds as a holiday fundraiser through the end of 2021.
Additionally, Tri Star is delivering cases of water as needs continue to rise and provided $1,000 in gift cards to an employee with ties in Dawson Springs, Ky., so she can distribute them personally.
Tri Star Energy is based in Nashville, Tenn.
Thorntons made a $20,000 contribution from the company's in-store fundraising initiative launched earlier last month to support tornado recovery efforts. The company selected the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund as the recipient of this donation to assist Kentuckians who were impacted by the tornados and the severe weather system overnight on Dec. 10.
"We are proud to call Kentucky our home state and to support Governor Andy Beshear in his on-the ground relief efforts to help Kentuckianas in need," said Debi Boffa, Thorntons president. "Our hearts go out to all those who continue to face devastation and loss. We chose to direct these funds to relief efforts in Kentucky where the need is the greatest and we sincerely hope that these funds will make a significant and meaningful difference."
The c-store operator continued to donate 10 cents, up to $100,000 total, from the purchase of every cup of coffee, tea, fountain soda or FizzFreez of any size through Christmas Day (Dec. 25) to support tornado recovery efforts.
Thorntons, part of the bp portfolio, operates more than convenience 200 stores in six states: Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida.