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:
Dole Food Co.
Dole Food Co. renewed its partnership with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to end childhood hunger in the United States.
The company's alliance with the nonprofit began in summer 2020 in response to the impact of COVID-19 when schools closed and millions of children were left facing hunger. Dole collaborates with No Kid Hungry on numerous programs — including nutrition education, fundraising campaigns and at-retail initiatives — to help give the 9 million American children living with food insecurity access to three healthy meals a day.
For 2023, Dole additionally became the presenting sponsor of Get Fit for No Kid Hungry, an influencer-based health and wellness fundraising initiative designed to recruit the nation's top fitness, wellness and nutrition experts to host health-related livestream classes and web-based instruction throughout January.
Active in the health and wellness blogger and influencer space since 2009, Dole recruited several of the key Get Fit for No Kid Hungry influencers participating in this year's program, including Charm City PT, Yoga Athletica and Dr. Rachel. The company is encouraging its millions of social media followers, employees, customers, Dole Nutrition News e-newsletter subscribers, growers, retailers and other industry partners to contribute to the effort.
Dole also encouraged its own partner bloggers and influencers to inspire their followers to get fit and give back by donating to No Kid Hungry.
"Addressing hunger and food insecurity for children is at the core of the Dole global mission of providing the tools for a healthy, happy, balanced life for all," said William Goldfield, Dole's director of corporate communications. "The sponsorship of Get Fit in particular allows us to set a healthy, active tone for 2023 while helping to support the most vulnerable throughout the year."
Dole plc is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of fresh fruit and vegetables.
EG Group raised $647,000 for Disabled American Veterans (DAV) following the completion of the company's annual fundraiser, surpassing previous years in money raised.
Throughout November, guests were encouraged to donate an amount of their choosing when they visited any of EG Group's convenience store brands, including Cumberland Farms, Certified Oil, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf N' Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Shop, Sprint Food Stores, Tom Thumb and Turkey Hill.
On Dec. 20, members of EG America leadership presented a check to Coleman Yee, DAV's third junior vice commander and Marine veteran, in a ceremony at EG America headquarters in Westborough, Mass. Attending from EG America were Acting President Caroline Taitelbaum, Director of Talent Acquisition and member of the EG Military Affinity Group Kieran Carr, Director of Corporate Services Dan McNally and Vice President of Operations Services Josh Bradstreet.
EG Group employs many former military personnel nationally, including McNally and Bradstreet, who served in the Air Force and Marines, respectively.
"We are very proud of the tremendous efforts of our store team members which resulted in raising a record amount of money for the DAV," said Bradstreet. "The funds raised will make a positive impact on the critical services that the DAV offers to vets every day."
DAV supports U.S veterans by ensuring that they and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them, providing employment resources and educating the public about the needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. Founded in 1920 and chartered by Congress in 1932, the organization currently represents more than 1 million members.
Founded in 2001 by the Issa Family, United Kingdom-based EG Group is a petrol forecourt retail convenience operator which has established partnerships with global brands. The company currently employs about 50,000 colleagues working in more than 6,200 sites across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, the United States and Australia.
McLane Co. Inc.
Supply chain services company McLane Co. Inc. surpassed $100 million in donations to Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals. Since 1987, McLane has raised more than $101 million through local fundraising efforts, hospital donations, underwriting of CMN Hospitals operations and supplier campaign support.
McLane's partnership funds critical, life-saving treatments and health care services, research and financial assistance for 170 children's hospitals that care for 10 million children each year across the U.S. and Canada.
"At McLane, there is a sense of pride and dedication among our teammates that stems from giving back to the communities we serve. Our longstanding partnership … allows us and our partners to join forces in making a difference in the lives of children with critical needs across the country," said Tony Frankenberger, CEO of McLane. "We're proud to have reached this milestone and will continue our steadfast support for years to come."
A large part of McLane's support for CMN Hospitals comes from grassroots fundraising at more than 75 distribution centers across the country. The centers engage local communities through a variety of events and fundraise directly with employee payroll giving programs.
The McLane supplier community has also joined in fundraising efforts. Additionally, company-wide events like the McLane Charity Golf Classic raised $800,000 this past year.
"For 35 years, McLane has shown an unwavering commitment to change kids' health to change the future. We're immensely grateful to their leadership, team members, suppliers and customers for decades of generosity," said Teri Nestel, president and CEO of CMN Hospitals.
Temple, Texas-based McLane Co. Inc. provides grocery and foodservice solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants, drug stores and chain restaurants. Through McLane Grocery and McLane Foodservice, it operates more than 80 distribution centers and one of the nation's largest private truck fleets. The company is a wholly owned unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Murphy USA Inc.
The board of directors of Murphy USA Inc. approved a $25 million donation to the Murphy USA Charitable Foundation, which will fund the organization's work supporting positive changes in local communities throughout the southern Arkansas region, including the El Dorado area, where the company is headquartered.
"Murphy USA and its board of directors are firmly committed to the communities where we live and work," said Andrew Clyde, Murphy USA president and CEO. "By making this donation to our foundation, we will continue to look for ways to make a positive impact with all of our key stakeholders."
The foundation funds the company's matching gifts, including its annual United Way campaign, in addition to other charities Murphy employees choose to support with their personal donations. The gift will also allow the foundation to maintain its three key priorities of funding programs that support education and workforce development, infrastructure revitalization, and community health and well-being.
Recent examples of support include the Murphy USA Student Athlete Academic Success Center at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and the capital campaign for the South Arkansas Arts Center. Additionally, the foundation also annually sponsors the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout as part of the Epson Tour, the official qualifying tour of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. The Shootout raises funds for the foundation and has recently prioritized women’s healthcare initiatives for its giving.
Murphy USA operates more than 1,700 stores in 27 states located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast, Midwest and Northeast U.S. The company also markets gasoline and other products at standalone stores with the Murphy Express and QuickChek brands.
OnCue recently made two large contributions to the cause of children's health care. First, the company raised $324,000 during its annual St. Jude Halloween Promotion to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, then gifted $1 million to Stillwater, Okla.-based Stillwater Medical to support and name a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The St. Jude promotion recruited participating restaurants and retail locations to ask customers to donate at the register to support the hospital's lifesaving mission. In exchange for contributing $1 or more, patrons received a Halloween-themed pinup displaying a St. Jude patient. The c-store retailer also sold limited-edition reusable cups benefiting St. Jude's and hosted a charitable golf tournament with the support of their retail partners.
The gift to Stillwater Medical Foundation helps the hospital in its mission to raise funds to create a Level II NICU. The 10-bed unit will serve all central and northcentral Oklahoma.
Premature babies must often be sent out of state because there are not enough NICU beds to keep Oklahoma families together. The current 98-bed Level IV NICU at Oklahoma Children's Hospital (OCH) frequently operates at maximum capacity, according to Trent E. Tipple, chief of neonatology at OCH. While Level IV NICUs offer the most comprehensive care to the most seriously ill newborns needing complex medical and surgical care, the hospital receives many patients from Stillwater Medical and surrounding hospitals who require Level II care, underscoring the need for a more localized NICU.
"The addition of a newborn intensive care unit at Stillwater Medical means that families can stay together. And we know that this increases positive outcomes for babies and mothers. Bonding, breast feeding rates and healing all improve when families can be together," explained Denise Webber, Stillwater Medical CEO.
Understanding the large amount of funds required to make the NICU a reality, OnCue's donation is the largest single gift ever received at Stillwater Medical.
"Our stores have been serving the Stillwater area for 55 years, and I am beyond grateful that we can make this investment to save lives in our community," said OnCue President Laura Aufleger.
The opening of the OnCue Neonatal ICU is scheduled for the spring of 2024.
Founded in 1966, Stillwater-based OnCue operates in more than 75 locations. The company has raised more than $3.2 million for St. Jude throughout their 16-year partnership, making the company the largest regional partner for the research hospital.
The Spinx Co.
The Spinx Co. commemorated its 50th anniversary by donating more than 2,000 meals to multiple nonprofit organizations in upstate South Carolina.
Spanning the year leading up to its golden anniversary on Dec. 1, 2022, Spinx selected one organization per month to receive free meals from the Cluk Truk, which was launched in 2020 to serve the retailer's fried chicken in a new way for surrounding communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spinx provided a total of 2,304 meals to the following local organizations (in the order they were served): United Ministries (125 meals), Highland Square Apartments (300 meals), Safe Harbor (49 meals), March of Dimes (845 meals), FAVOR (101 meals), Miracle Hill (140 meals), Greenville County Police (85 meals), the Boys and Girls Club of Greenville (113 meals), Greenville Fire Departments (83 meals), Soteria CDC (61 meals), Project Host (240 meals) and A Child's Haven (162 meals).
"We are sincerely grateful to our community partners for their continued support over the last 50 years," said Stewart Spinks, Spinx founder and chairman. "Without these organizations, the Upstate would not be the place it is today. We celebrated a big anniversary this past year, and it just made sense to share the celebration with our neighbors and partners."
Founded in 1972 in Greenville, S.C., Spinx operates 82 convenience stores throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.
Talking Rain Beverage Co.
Talking Rain Beverage Co., makers of sparkling water brand Sparkling Ice, launched a new corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, Flavorful Giving.
Throughout each month in 2023, Sparkling Ice will partner with a different charitable organization focusing on a range of topics including youth development, veteran care, wellness and education. It will support the work of each partner through an activation or financial contribution.
Flavorful Giving is also part of the brand's overarching Live in Full Flavor campaign and marks the most inclusive CSR effort in the brand's history, as the company aims to reach more communities than ever before.
"We are committed to not only bringing flavor to our consumers' lives but also giving back to the communities in which we serve," said Nina Morrison, senior vice president of community experience at Talking Rain. "We hope our Sparkling Ice consumers will follow along each month as we introduce new partners that are making a difference."
For the month of January, Sparkling Ice partnered with Good Sports, an organization dedicated to making sports and physical activity accessible to all children, regardless of their background or financial circumstances. To further those efforts, on Jan. 27, Sparkling Ice and Good Sports provided sporting goods to Seattle-based Bailey Gatzert Elementary.
The Sparkling Ice brand has previously supported communities through CSR initiatives, including town beautification projects, home builds for veterans and support for foster children. In 2022, Talking Rain hit a new donation milestone, having raised a total of $1 million to date in support of nonprofits benefiting veterans and veteran families.