Community Service Spotlight: Casey's, Crosby's, EG Group & Wawa

CITGO, Kum & Go, RaceTrac, Seagram's Escapes and Stewart's Shops also gave back to their communities.
Amanda Koprowski
Associate Editor
Amanda Koprowski profile picture

NATIONAL REPORT — Giving back through community service efforts and charitable donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of the industry moving ahead. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these philanthropic efforts in this special section.

Here are the latest company spotlights:

Rolling Remembrance truck at Casey's

Casey's General Stores Inc.

On April 13, the Casey's store in Ankeny, Iowa, was a designated stop along PepsiCo's eighth annual "Rolling Remembrance" American flag relay.

The "Rolling Remembrance" relay is a more than 8,000 mile long relay of an American flag that was flown in combat during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2012. Utilizing normal business routes, PepsiCo's network of U.S. military veteran drivers pass off the storied flag at each predetermined stop. 

The event helps raise awareness and funds for the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. 

"At Casey's, service is part of our core values, and it's why recognizing the sacrifices and legacies of our nation's veterans is so important to us," said Darren Rebelez, president and CEO of Casey's, and a U.S. Army veteran. "We're proud to show our gratitude to those who have served our country and their families through meaningful opportunities like the Rolling Remembrance relay and with strong partners like PepsiCo."

[Read More: Community Service Spotlight: Casey's, CITGO & Enmarket]

CITGO Petroleum Corp.

CITGO participated in special events to support and engage local communities this spring.

In March, employees at the company's Lemont, Ill., refinery made a splash at the 2023 Polar Plunge at the Braidwood Recreation Club. 

The team of 14 made the plunge in CITGO safety gear — including hard hats — and polar bear costumes, and, along with a corporate donation, raised a total of $14,353 for Special Olympics Illinois. They also brought home three awards from the event including Most Money Raised by an Individual, the Golden Years Plunger and Best Costume. 

Overall, the Braidwood Polar Plunge event raised more than $63,000 for the Special Olympics from 339 participants.

"CITGO is proud to support the Special Olympics Illinois Polar Plunge," said Jim Cristman, CITGO Lemont vice president and general manager, adding that CITGO employees participate in many Special Olympics events, on and off the field, throughout the year.

Special Olympics has raised nearly $27 million by more than 87,000 Plungers since the event's inception 24 years ago. Special Olympics Illinois provides programs in 11 regions throughout the state and reach more than 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities each year.

The following month, CITGO served as the official fuel sponsor of the 127th Boston Marathon, as well as the sponsor of a running team participating in the race. This year's team included educators, nonprofit workers, a first responder and two first-time marathoners from Boston.

"I work in a very low socio-economic area, so for CITGO to pick me — I can't describe my gratitude," said Cathy Delamore, a teacher from the Houston area. "Because people like me and the kids I work with really need support."

CITGO's presence at the event included a "cheer zone" beneath the CITGO sign in Kenmore Square, where company representatives and spectators encouraged runners as they approached the final mile towards the Boylston Street finish line.

This year's race also marked a solemn anniversary — 10 years since the bombing at the 2013 finish line. On April 16, members of the CITGO team attended a memorial service for the three spectators and two policemen who lost their lives.

Headquartered in Houston, CITGO operates three refineries in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois. The company currently employs approximately 3,300 people and supplies a network of approximately 4,200 locally owned and operated branded retail outlets.

Crosby's donation to the Patricia Allen fund


Members of Crosby's leadership team presented a check for $86,805.13 to representatives of the Patricia Allen Fund at the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. 

Throughout the NFL football season, Crosby's offered multiple ways for customers to assist in supporting pediatric critical care. Seventeen cents from every slice of Crosby's fresh baked Mafia Pizza was donated to the organization, along with 1 cent from every gallon of fuel purchased at designated dispensers and 8 percent of the 26 "Circle the Wagons" T-shirts sold. Customers could also donate directly through a $2 pin-up donation.

Headquartered in Lockport, N.Y., the Reid Group is comprised of both Crosby's and Reid Petroleum Corp. The group operates 87 Crosby's locations throughout upstate New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Family-owned and led by third and fourth generation members, the company currently employs 1,000 associates.

EG America Donation to the American Red Cross

EG Group

EG America raised $627,000 in its most recent fundraising campaign for the American Red Cross. During the month of March, guests were able to donate $1, $5 or an amount of their choosing at checkout with all proceeds going to support the organization.

The American Red Cross fundraiser brings the total money raised for partner organizations to $4.1 million since 2020. Over the past three years, EG America stores — including Cumberland Farms, Certified Oil, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf N' Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Sprint, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill — have provided guests an opportunity to donate to select partner organizations.

Other notable campaigns have included:

  • $1 million for the American Cancer Society to fund life-saving programs, research and services that help patients and families impacted by cancer;
  • $563,000 for the United Way to advance youth development and fund educational resources; and
  • $1.9 million for Disabled American Veterans to help connect injured and ill veterans to the full range of benefits available to them.

"We're honored to partner with organizations that are making a considerable impact on the communities we serve," said Caroline Taitelbaum, president of EG America. "This would not be possible without the generosity of our guests, who we cannot thank enough for supporting these causes alongside us."

Founded in 2001 by the Issa family, United Kingdom-based EG Group is a convenience retailer which currently employs more than 50,000 colleagues working in more than 6,300 sites across U.S., U.K., Ireland, Continental Europe and Australia.

Kum & Go LC

Kum & Go joined Habitat for Humanity as a cause marketing partner in the latter's annual Home is the Key campaign, which calls attention to the critical need of equitable access to affordable housing in the United States.

As part of the campaign, Kum & Go is inviting customers to support Home is the Key by donating at checkout stations. Additionally, for every Kum & Go bottled water sold in April, 10 cents will be donated, along with a minimum pledge of $500,000 the company made to support Habitat this year. 

Kum & Go also provides grants and volunteers to support Habitat projects in multiple markets and annually sponsors a full house build. On April 22, Kum & Go associates and executives volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Detroit in the Morningside neighborhood to complete neighborhood revitalization projects, a day which concluded with a community block party with Habitat homeowners.

Established in 1959 by Bill Krause and Tony Gentle with a single gas station in Hampton, Iowa, Kum & Go is a part of Krause Group. Maverik — Adventure's First Stop inked a deal to acquire the chain in April, with closing expected later in 2023.

Michael J. Fox Foundation Logo

RaceTrac Inc.

April was Parkinson's Awareness Month, and in recognition, RaceTrac again partnered with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) to raise funds for research.

Throughout the month, the company donated a portion of each store's proceeds as a part of its RaceTrac Gives Back initiative. Store guests had the option of donating via either adding $1 to their in-store purchases or selecting a special $1 candy bar available at the register to support the cause. During Coffee for a Cause week between April 16-22, all coffee proceeds were also donated directly to the foundation.

The search for a cure for Parkinson's is a near and dear one for RaceTrac. The founder, Carl Bolch, Sr., lived with Parkinson's and his son, Executive Chairman of the board Carl Bolch, Jr., also lives with the disease and currently serves on the Foundation's patient council. Beyond the Bolch family, several RaceTrac employees, their families and customers are impacted by the disease in some way.

"We hope our guests will join us in supporting the important work of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research by stopping in for a World's Finest Chocolate bar or a cup of Crazy Good Coffee this April," said Melanie Isbill, daughter of Bolch, Jr. and chief marketing officer at RaceTrac. Isbill also serves as a member of the MJFF board of directors. 

Founded in 1934 and headquartered in Atlanta, family-owned RaceTrac operates more than 550 convenience store locations in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee.

Seagram's Escapes poster and tagline

Seagram's Escapes

Seagram's Escapes invested $50,000 to support beach and waterway cleanups in Florida, especially around areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. The funds are being allocated through partnerships with four Keep Florida Beautiful affiliates: Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Keep Lee County Beautiful and Keep Charlotte Beautiful. 

The investment will engage more than 7,500 volunteers expected to conduct 1,000-plus projects throughout the year, including waterway clean ups, sustainable plantings and invasive species removal. 

"Seagram's Escapes is committed to keeping Florida beaches beautiful for people who live, work and visit the area," said Chuck Buckingham, Seagram's Escapes brand director. "By investing in these coastal cleanups, we look forward to positively impacting the quality of beaches and waterways for all to enjoy across the state."

Specific programs supported by the investment include, among others: 

  • The 2023 Great American Coastal Cleanups, which will conduct more than 350 cleanups and beautification events throughout Pinellas and Charlotte Counties;
  • Native tree planting in Lee County; and
  • The Kayak Waterway Cleanup, which will remove harmful debris that washed into mangrove-dominated waters by Hurricane Ian. 

Based out of Rochester, N.Y., Seagram's Escapes is a ready-to-drink malt beverage brand known for variety and versatility. It is a subsidiary of Fifco USA.

Stewart's Shops' donation to the Stillwater Public Library

Stewart's Shops

Stewart's Shops and the Dake Family Foundation donated $75,000 to the Stillwater Public Library, located in the village of Stillwater in Saratoga County, N.Y. The donation will help fund a new community library, with construction expected to be completed in late 2023.

"We weren't sure where to turn after discovering every window needed an upgrade in our new building. This donation has allowed us to cover a significant portion of those unexpected costs. We are so grateful to the Dake family and Stewarts' Shops for extending this amazing helping hand," stated Sara Kipp, library director of the Stillwater Public Library.

The new library will be located in the Fiber Mill building less than a half mile from the current library. The new facility will be handicap accessible and offer more space, with a free public use community room that can seat up to 40 people. There will also be a quiet reading room, a children's area, a teen room and ample parking.

Stewart's gives $9 million annually to more than 6,000 nonprofit organizations. Approximately $6 million of it comes from the Dake Family Foundations and does not impact the company's employee stock ownership plan or profit sharing.

Wawa Inc.

Wawa's 501(c)3 organization, the Wawa Foundation, has recently made some significant donations and reached a major milestone.

First, the nonprofit donated $6.15 million to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in order to elevate and expand the hospital's Wawa Volunteer Services program. 

The gift will establish a Wawa Coffee and Care Cart, currently operating on CHOP's Philadelphia campus, at CHOP's second inpatient hospital, the Middleman Family Pavilion in King of Prussia, in July 2023. The donation will also enable the purchase and upgrade of coffee makers and other accessories, as well as provide funding for the reception area of a Family Resource Center in the new patient tower on CHOP's Philadelphia campus, scheduled to open in 2028. 

"We are thrilled to build on our long-standing partnership with CHOP at their hospital in Philadelphia, while expanding volunteer services to the Middleman Family Pavilion in King of Prussia to fulfill more lives in our community," said Maria Kalogredis, chair of The Wawa Foundation. "It truly warms our hearts to connect with and play even a minor role in providing the simple comfort of beverages to patients and families to make their stay a little brighter." 

Overall, Wawa and the Wawa Foundation have provided more than $17.5 million in support to various departments across the hospital enterprise, including the volunteer program, Division of Orthopaedics, Adolescent Medicine, and Department of Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy.

Wawa Foundation infographic

Second, on April 16, Wawa celebrated both the anniversary of its founding, as well as the ninth birthday of the Wawa Foundation, which was launched to mark the company's 50th anniversary in 2014.  

[Read More: Wawa Community Care Vehicle Hits the Road for 2023 Coffee Tour]

The Foundation has now donated more than $136 million in support to more than 6,000 community partners focused on health, hunger and everyday heroes across the company's operational footprint. In addition, more than 30 million meals have been donated by Wawa stores to local food pantries through the Wawa Share food donation program.   

In 2022 alone, Wawa and the Foundation provided more than $22 million in financial grants and support to national and local charity partners, 3.2 million pounds of food to local food pantries, $4 million in in-kind donations and more than $1 million in hurricane relief support to Florida communities. Additionally, Wawa associates supported almost 100 local community events, including assembling and shipping more than 15,000 care packages to deployed service members.

"We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our wonderful customers who support our Foundation campaigns and send our heartfelt thanks to every one of them for helping us provide funding to so many meaningful non-profit partners that have positively impacted lives across our communities," said Kalogredis. 

The Wawa Foundation supports Wawa's charitable giving and philanthropic activities in order to ultimately help build happier, stronger communities. It currently has seven national partners:  Special Olympics, the American Red Cross, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, USO, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night and Check Out Hunger (Feeding America Food Banks).