Community Service Spotlight: Circle K, Ricker's & Wawa

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:

Circle K

2016 marked the eighth consecutive year that the Southeast Division of Circle K participated in fundraising programs supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Last year, more than 550 Circle K c-stores teamed up with customers and store vendors to raise more than $1 million for the association.

Throughout the year, Circle K locations participated in the Summer Camp and Show Your Strength fundraising campaigns, in which customers purchased an MDA pinup for a $1, $5 or more contribution at checkout. Each pinup was signed by the customer and prominently displayed in each store. Circle K and its vendors also participated in an Annual MDA Golf Tournament in Charlotte, N.C., for additional fundraising.

Since teaming up with MDA in 2009, Circle K has raised more than $4.3 million to help MDA.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and nonprofit Keep America Beautiful have kicked off the fifth year of its joint Recycling Bin Grant program by opening its 2017 application process.

To apply for the merit-based grant program, interested organizations and communities complete an online form, detailing their proposal and selecting the number and style of recycling bins from available options. Keep America Beautiful then competitively reviews and awards grants based on need and likelihood to recover significant quantities of recyclables. Grant recipients are expected to receive their bins in May.

The grant program has already awarded more than 3,400 recycling bins to local governments and community organizations across 38 states to expand the availability of recycling in neighborhood parks and larger regional parks, beaches, athletic fields and walking trails.

The Parker Cos.

Savannah, Ga.-based The Parker Cos., operator of Parker's convenience stores, recently donated $5,000 to Bryan County Schools through the company's Fueling the Community program, which donates a portion of the sale of every gallon of gas on the first Wednesday of each month to area schools. Director of Operations Jeff Bush presented the check to public school administrators, students and teachers at a check donation ceremony at Richmond Hill Elementary School in Richmond Hill, Ga.

Parker's has also partnered with WSAV to honor students who exhibit excellence in the classroom, community and in sports. Every month during the school year, Parker's will donate a $500 college scholarship to a student in Georgia or the South Carolina Lowcountry. A panel of judges reviews every nomination and identifies a winner.

The latest recipient is Madeline Prince, a senior at Hilton Head Island High School on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Parker's President and CEO Greg Parker presented her with a ceremonial check at a special event at the school. Prince was automatically entered for a chance to win an additional $1,000 with the Outstanding Student Scholarship.

"Education is one of the cornerstones of our charitable giving strategy at Parker's," said the executive. "We understand the power education has to transform lives. Giving back is part of our company's DNA."

Ricker's Convenience Stores

Ricker's founders Jay and Nancy Ricker pledged to donate $500,000 to Conner Prairie, Indiana's first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, at the association's 2017 Annual Meeting. The donation will help restore the museum's Chinese House, which is used as a venue for private events like weddings and corporate outings.

Jay Ricker is currently in his second year as chairman of the board of directors for Conner Prairie. He joined the board in 2011, has served as chairman of the development committee and has been a member on various board committees. He also serves on the museum’s foundation board.

Ricker's has been the presenting sponsor of the museum's 1859 Balloon Voyage experience since 2009.  The company continued its exclusive sponsorship of the exhibit through 2014. 

Wawa Inc.

The Wawa Foundation awarded Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies of Orlando, Fla., a $100,000 grand for its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The grant supports The Wawa Foundation's health-focused giving initiative and will purchase a new incubator used to transport high-risk and critically ill neonatal patients to and from the hospital.

Wawa's commitment to Winnie Palmer Hospital began prior to the opening of its first Florida store in July 2012. To date, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation's contributions to Winner Palmer Hospital total nearly $300,000.

The Wawa Foundation has set out to donate $50 million to causes surrounding health, hunger and everyday heroes by 2018. To date, it has donated $33 million to causes in these key areas. 

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