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:
Casey's General Stores
Casey's is asking guests to round up their purchases to help fund its annual Cash for Classrooms Grant Program, which provides funds for projects and initiatives that benefit K-12 public and nonprofit, private schools.
"Schools are at the heart of each of our communities, like Casey's, and we are honored to be able to support students, teachers and families through the Cash for Classrooms Grant Program. We encourage our guests to join forces with Casey's and Keurig Dr Pepper by rounding up when shopping in our stores or purchasing the CORE combo during this campaign," said Megan Elfers, president of Casey's Charities.
Guests can also donate to this year's campaign with two other ways:
- Keurig Dr Pepper will donate $1 for every 3 for $5 combo of CORE Hydration water purchased, up to $25,000; and
- Casey’s will donate $1 for every large pizza purchase completed on Monday, Aug. 30, up to $100,000.
In 2021, Casey's Cash for Classrooms Grant Program awarded $1 million to benefit schools through 99 grants. The funding priorities included physical improvements, material needs, teacher support and community engagement initiatives.
Every dollar raised will go toward this year's Cash for Classrooms Grant Program, which opens its application process on Oct. 1 through Nov. 30. Grant requests may range from $3,000 to $50,000.
GPM Investments LLC
GPM Investments recently sponsored the Mountain Empire Older Citizens' 45th Annual Walkathon for the agency's Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly (MEOC). Together, fas mart, Roadrunner Markets and Scotchman convenience stores raised $116,651.
This marked GPM's 11th year sponsoring the MEOC Walkathon and participating as a gold sponsor for the event.
"We are passionate about working with local organizations to better our community," said GPM Investments Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Michael Bloom. "We're proud to be a longstanding corporate sponsor of MEOC's annual Walkathon and contribute to a program that is doing so much to care for the elderly in southwestern Virginia."
MEOC has served southwestern Virginia since 1974, providing a range of services aimed at helping older adults live independently in their homes and communities for as long as safely possible. Services include home-delivered and congregate nutrition, in-home support, advocacy, wellness programs, and more.
"We are so pleased to have GPM as a long-standing corporate sponsor," said Michael Wampler, executive director at Mountain Empire Older Citizens. "Providing support for the Emergency Fuel Fund for over a decade, they perfectly exemplify this year's Walkathon theme 'Strong Community Raising Spirits' and the way our community has always supported those in need."
GPM Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARKO Corp., is based in Richmond, Va., and operates or supplies stores in 33 states and Washington D.C. As the sixth largest c-store chain in the country, GPM has approximately 3,000 locations comprised of approximately 1,400 company-operated stores and 1,650 dealer sites to which it supplies fuel.
The Hershey Co.
Following the isolation of the past year, and the cancellation of their town's annual end-of-summer celebration in 2020, a high school woodshop class, alongside its woodshop teacher, rallied together to build fire tables and pits to reconnect their community over Hershey's S'mores.
"The festival leaders were inspired by a Hershey's S'mores commercial, which depicted a neighborhood coming together over a set of fire tables to make S'mores," said Travis Oliver, Crookston High School Industrial Education Teacher. "We thought, what an amazing project for my shop kids to make for the community and what a great way to come back together in a sweet and safe way in 2021."
With the help of the local fire department, the festival coordinators, local sponsors and businesses, and Hershey — including a full pallet of chocolate — the first-ever community S'mores event was born.
"We were blown away when we got word of the project these kids built, and we were really inspired by this entire town — from the teacher, the local festival organizers and even the firemen who helped," said Alyssa Smith, Hershey's brand manager. "We wanted to support their hard work and passion, so we sent them all they needed to make the S'mores table the showcase of the Ox Cart Festival."
Love's Travel Stops
Love's kicked off a campaign to support Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals that runs through Sept. 30. To donate, customers can purchase a paper balloon for $1, $5, $10 or $20 or Round Up the Change to the nearest dollar at the register. Additionally, stores will safely hold raffles, fundraisers and sell CMN Hospitals merchandise like teddy bears and golf towels.