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11/17/2021

Community Service Spotlight: CEFCO, Global Partners, Mars Wrigley & Sparkling Ice

Efforts centered on children's charities, sustainability, and gender parity.

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

Here are the latest company spotlights:

CEFCO Convenience Stores

The 2021 Hackers-R-Us Charity Golf Tournament, hosted by CEFCO, raised more than $280,000 for The Fikes Foundation. Donations will go towards giving back to the communities that are served by The Fikes Cos. and will also be used to provide scholarships and grants to various charitable organizations.

"We are proud to host another successful tournament and we are grateful for all who came out to support The Fikes Foundation," said CEFCO Chief Operating Officer Ken Rowland. "Thank you to all of our vendor sponsors for your continued support and thank you to Cimarron Hills for their support in hosting this event."

The Fikes Cos. include CEFCO Convenience Stores, Group Petroleum Services, CORD Financial Services, Digital Network Solutions, Fikes Fuels, Fikes Wholesale, and JF Air.

CEFCO also kicked off its annual Miracle Balloon fundraising campaign benefitting Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's Medical Center and 15 other Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and Florida. All 200-plus CEFCO locations in six states will be participating and the campaign, which runs through Nov. 16.

In 2020, CEFCO and CMN Hospitals celebrated 21 years of partnership. Since 1999, the convenience operator has raised more than $5 million for the organization, including $400,000 last year.

CITGO Petroleum Corp.

Hundreds of southwest Louisiana residents recycled their unwanted electronics during the annual CITGO E-Recycle Day at the West-Cal Arena parking lot in Sulphur. This event provides residents with the opportunity to recycle their unwanted electronics, completely free of charge. Items collected included TVs, cell phones, computers, batteries, household items containing mercury and other consumer electronics.

This year 400 vehicles drove through the event with collections totaling six extra-large roll-off boxes, which equals approximately three semitrailers, 485 light bulbs and several items containing mercury, according to CITGO.

"After the events of last year, we anticipated a large turnout due to the increased need to recycle old or damaged electronics in an environmentally safe and effective way," said Jerry Dunn, vice president and general manager of the CITGO Lake Charles Manufacturing Complex. "We are happy to be a reliable partner for our community and continue to provide this first e-waste recycling opportunity since the 2020 hurricanes."

Each year, CITGO E-Recycle Day alternates between the cities of Lake Charles and Sulphur to give residents in each region a convenient place to recycle their e-waste. Since 2009, CITGO E-Recycle Day has kept more than 462 tons of electronic waste out of landfills and is one of many initiatives sponsored by CITGO as part of its commitment to reduce waste. 

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.

Nicole Harrison, winner of Fresh Del Monte's BUNCH OF GOOD sweepstakes, presented a check for $10,000 on behalf of Fresh Del Monte's "Bunch of Good Society" to Nate Crone, agriculture sourcing partnerships: produce, of Feeding America on Nov. 6. 

The BUNCH OF GOOD campaign emphasizes Fresh Del Monte's corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts to make A Brighter World Tomorrow, giving consumers a look inside the brand’s core values and commitment to communities, education, ecosystems, healthcare, wildlife preservation and much more.

Global Partners LP

Global Partners and its family of convenience stores raised more than $21,000 to support Cure Rare Disease, a nonprofit biotechnology research organization on a mission to develop precision medicine for rare diseases, to support its cause through a cashbox collection campaign.

During the month of August, donation boxes were placed at approximately 300 Global Partners stores, including Xtra Mart, Jiffy Mart, Honey Farms and Alltown brands. 

"Charity and making the world a bit better is at the core of our operations. We are proud of the work Cure Rare Disease does to help change lives and are happy to raise funds through our footprint across New England," said Mark Cosenza, senior vice president of Gasoline Distribution and Station Operations at Global.

This year's campaign brings the operator's total collections for Cure Rare Disease to more than $85,000.

Love's Travel Stops

Oklahoma City-based Love's pledged $9 million toward the University of Oklahoma's (OU) new softball stadium, which will be called Love's Field.

As part of its pledge, the travel center operator will match every other donation dollar for dollar up to an additional $3 million dollars. Once fulfilled, the match will result in a total gift of $12 million from Love's, which is the largest philanthropic gift directed toward a female-specific sports program in OU Athletics history.

"As life-long Oklahomans, investing in the community, specifically the University of Oklahoma and its softball program, is something we're proud to do," said Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer and executive vice president of Love's. "What [head coach] Patty Gasso has accomplished in not only her tenure at OU, but for women's college softball, is awe-inspiring. The program she's built aligns with Love's core values of integrity, perseverance and strong work ethic, and the world was able to see that as they won the 2021 Women's College World Series. We are proud to have our name associated with this program and the new stadium that's so well deserved by the team."

Love's Field will be the new home to champions with aligning state of the art training facilities for OU Softball student-athletes and coaches. The new facility includes a 10,500-square-foot indoor training facility, a training room, a locker room and classroom, as well as space for a recognition area to showcase national championships, All-Americans and other outstanding accomplishments.

It will accommodate seating for 3,000 and is being designed to allow for expansion. Fan amenities will include three concessions stands with a total of eight points of sale, with additional space for auxiliary locations, as well as an increase of more than 80 restroom fixtures from the current facility.

Love's operates more than 560 travel centers across 41 states.

Parker's

The 9th Annual Parker's Fueling the Community Golf Tournament raised a record $138,890 to support education, healthcare and other important causes in coastal Georgia and South Carolina. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit local communities where Parker's operates.

"We look forward to this event all year and deeply appreciate the generous support from the sponsors and the players," said Parker's founder and CEO Greg Parker. "We will use the revenue from this tournament to make a positive impact in communities across our corporate footprint, from Jesup, Ga., to Moncks Corner, S.C."

Launched in 2011, Parker's Fueling the Community charitable initiative distributes money annually to public and private schools throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Through the program, Parker's donates a portion of every gallon of gas sold on the first Wednesday of each month at all locations to schools across Georgia and South Carolina. The funds raised by the golf tournament will supplement these monthly donations to help Parker's support education and healthcare initiatives throughout the region.

Mars Wrigley

Mars Wrigley's Dove Chocolate brand unveiled the #DOVEInstaGrants program, which helps to support budding and established female small business owners. The brand is calling on all women who mean business to pitch new ideas and established small business concepts for a chance to win one of three $10,000 grants to further fuel their entrepreneurial dreams.

Female business entrepreneurs will be considered for Dove Chocolate "InstaGrants" by sharing a 30-second business "pitch" video in-feed on Instagram with #DOVEInstaGrants #Contest @DoveChocolate in the caption, or by visiting InstaGrants.DoveChocolate.com beginning Nov. 4 – 19.

The program is inspired by Dove Chocolate's long-term partnership with CARE, an international humanitarian agency. The partnership was built on the mutual desire to empower women in West African cocoa-growing communities to build their own small businesses and define their financial voice.

"As part of a company that actively supports women, as seen through Mars' Full Potential Platform, and as a long-term partner of CARE, #DOVEInstaGrants embodies our mission to help support and elevate women in business," said Leslie Philipsen, brand director, Dove Chocolate. "The goal of #DOVEInstaGrants is to offer women a sense of community and support with a platform to express their smart business ideas whether they're just getting started or are more established. Mars Chocolate has seen remarkable progress through our work with CARE in West Africa, and we’re excited to help ignite creativity and conversation here in the U.S. by helping women build their financial confidence."

To help raise awareness for the #DOVEInstaGrants program, Dove Chocolate has partnered with female money experts Tori Dunlap (@Herfirst100k) and Carmen Perez (@makerealcents), who help women build financial equity and confidence through their social channels. They will also join Dove Brand Director Leslie Philipsen in judging the entries and selecting the finalists, with an eye to concepts that showcase innovation, sustainability and female-first ideas.

Sheetz Inc.

The Pennsylvania-based c-store operator created eight full-tuition scholarships for minority college students, both current and prospective, attending Penn State Altoona. Endowed by Sheetz Inc. Executive Steve Sheetz and his wife, Nancy, the scholarships aim to create opportunities for the next generation of community business leaders.

"We want to help these students prepare to be good leaders and to be an asset to their own communities," Sheetz said. "This will ultimately create opportunities to help prepare these students for a fulfilling life."

The creation of the scholarships was announced by Sheetz at the Freedom Fighters Gala for the NAACP Blair County Chapter. Each of the scholarships will be named after a person of color in Blair County who "made a lasting impact on their community."

Among the requirements for the scholarship including studying business or entrepreneurship, community service hours, participating in a mentorship program, and holding at least a 3.2 grade-point average.

Sparkling Ice

This holiday season, Talking Rain Beverage Co., the maker of Sparkling Ice, is spreading holiday cheer through its new initiative, Cheers to Giving.

The Cheers to Giving campaign aims to celebrate nonprofits that make a difference in their communities by inviting the organizations and its supporters to share stories of their impact, for a chance to be selected as one of three winning nonprofits to receive a $50,000 donation from Talking Rain.

From Oct. 1 through Nov. 19, Sparkling Ice fans can nominate a 501(c)(3) charity to receive one of three available donations. The three winning charities will be announced on or around Dec. 15 and receive a $50,000 donation from Talking Rain. As a bonus, for each nomination, participants can earn Sparkling Ice Rewards points that can be redeemed for various prizes like Sparkling Ice branded items and more.

"We're always inspired by the charitable work and the impact that our non-profits have every day in local communities across the country," said Nina Morrison, senior vice president of Community Experience at Talking Rain. "Through Cheers to Giving, we want to show our support and appreciation for charities nationwide, so they can continue to give back to those in need during the holiday giving season and beyond."

Stewart's Shops

Stewart's Shops and the Dake Family recently donated $200,000 to help support the expansion and upgrades for the Saranac Lake Civic Center, including new ice equipment, a new entrance and lobby, new locker rooms, spectator seating, energy-efficient building, and a new heated and air-conditioned rink.

The project is partially funded by New York State through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, but the civic center needs additional community funding to bring the project to fruition with a total capital campaign goal of $1.5 million.

"The new and improved Civic Center will be a hub for both Saranac Lake residents and visitors for many years to come. The timing for improvements couldn’t be better with the World University Games coming in 2023," said Susan Dake, president of Stewart's Shops Foundation. "Stewart's Shops is a long-time supporter of Saranac Lake and surrounding areas. We believe in strengthening our communities and we are proud to support this project."

Wawa Inc.

The Wawa Foundation launched the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund during October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The program is designed to provide financial assistance to local nonprofits helping patients and families meet basic needs during active breast cancer treatment as well as to organizations advancing prevention methods or providing access, research or treatment.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Fund is a Wawa Foundation key issue grant fund with $200,000 available to be distributed to selected nonprofits. Applications were accepted from Oct. 1 – 31, with funding awarded and distributed on Nov. 15.

"Breast cancer awareness and research has always been an important cause to Wawa associates and customers and The Wawa Foundation is glad to create a new, meaningful way to support nonprofits providing services and important research in this area," said Jared Culotta, president of The Wawa Foundation. "Our foundation is always looking for ways to support issues impacting the communities that Wawa serves, and we look forward to furthering important work though this fund."

Additionally, from Oct. 25 through Dec. 26, guests can visit any Wawa location and donate to the Check Out Hunger campaign. Donations will benefit 26 local Feeding America Foodbanks across the convenience retailer’s operating footprint in six states and Washington, D.C.

TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA)

TA is thanking guests across the country for contributing nearly $102,000 for the St. Christopher’s Truckers Relief Fund (SCF), an organization which supports professional drivers and their families when an illness or injury causes them to be out of work.

The travel center operator held the Register RoundUp campaign from July 1 through Sept. 6, offering guests the opportunity to round up their check to the nearest dollar on purchases at TA, Petro and TA Express locations nationwide.

"We are committed to supporting the SCF team in their noble work of providing crucial resources to professional drivers when they are in need," said Jon Pertchik, CEO of TA. "We are pleased to serve these heroic men and women who sacrifice so much to keep our economy moving and thank our guests for their generosity in helping support professional drivers."

TA has been a proud supporter of SCF since 2010, raising nearly $3 million in total contributions.