NATIONAL REPORT — Giving back through community service efforts and charity 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:
Anheuser-Busch provided 2,156 cases of emergency drinking water, or 51,744 cans, to firefighters and relief workers trying to quell wildfires in Northern California.
Local Anheuser-Busch distributor Markstein Beverage worked with the American Red Cross to distribute the water to firefighters and relief workers battling the Valley, Butte and Rough wildfires.
Since 1988, Anheuser-Busch has donated nearly 74 million cans of emergency drinking water following natural and other disasters. Just last month, the company provided more than 50,000 cans of water to assist firefighters in Washington State.
Kwik Trip Inc.
Kwik Trip, based in La Crosse, Wis., recently presented a donation of $100,000 to the future Holmen Community Center in Holmen, Wis., to go toward creating a safe space for children, teens, families and senior adults in the area, according to a report by WXOW.com.
"We recognize that Holmen is one of the fastest-growing communities in the state," said John McHugh of Kwik Trip. "Because it's such a fast-growing community, there are lots of needs here; a lot of good needs. And we certainly want to help those needs."
The donation from Kwik Trip brings the project closer to its first $1 million raised. Organizers hope to collect around $4 million to meet the costs of construction for the center. They hope to break ground as soon as next summer.
Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelēz International is sending 14 employees from around the world to Ghana to learn and serve in cocoa-farming communities during a two-week skills exchange program in late October. They will learn directly from farmers about the challenges and opportunities in securing a sustainable cocoa supply, while sharing their diverse business skills.
The Joy Ambassadors journey is part of the company's Call For Well-being, which is focused on fueling growth while securing the well-being of future generations. This effort coincides with Mondelēz International's annual Global Volunteer Month.
During the month of October, Mondelēz employees around the world have taken time to give back to their communities. Partnering with leading global and local non-governmental organizations, such as INMED Partnerships for Children, Magic Bus, Save the Children and Klasse2000, thousands of Mondelēz employees rolled up their sleeves to volunteer.
In addition, the Mondelēz International Foundation launched three other well-being programs aimed at bringing nutrition education, active play and fresh foods to children and their families in Mexico, South Africa and the United States. This is part of the company's multi-year, $50-million commitment to promote healthy lifestyles and address obesity:
- Mexico: Save the Children will improve nutrition and physical activity by promoting active play, nutrition education and gardening to approximately 20,000 children and families. Designed for children aged 2-13, the program will operate in early childhood development centers and primary schools.
- South Africa: INMED Partnerships for Children is adapting its award-winning program from Brazil to South Africa. INMED's efforts, which include school-based gardens, have improved children's body mass index (BMI) and vegetable consumption in Brazil. The program will now seek to reach 50,000-75,000 children, parents and community members across 100 schools in South Africa.
- United States: After-School All-Stars will expand its middle school program to offer nutrition education, cooking classes, urban vegetable gardens and will add BMI tracking to its program evaluation. This new effort is the Foundation's first-ever afterschool program geared to middle school students. The program will reach children and families in more than 150 schools in 12 U.S. locations.
QuickChek team members continue to aid thousands of families in need by volunteering at local community food banks. Thirty volunteers from the company’s headquarters in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and various stores sorted and boxed donations at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside, N.J., on Aug. 13. When their three-hour shift ended, the QuickChek team had boxed enough food to feed approximately 5,000 hungry families.
This was the third time in the past nine months that QuickChek team members have volunteered at the Community Food Bank in Hillside, having previously donated their time in March and last November ahead of the Thanksgiving and December holiday season. The company also supports food banks in New York’s Hudson Valley and on Long Island.
“Being in the food business, partnering with the community food banks where we have stores was a natural fit when we were looking for new ways to get further involved with our local communities,” said QuickChek CEO Dean Durling
Ricker Oil Co.
Ricker Oil, based in Anderson, Ind., and The Path Home hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome local disabled veteran Tim Senkowski and his family to their new home in Anderson. The Path Home, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and their families, began fundraising in May 2012 to build the Senkowski family a home to accommodate Tim’s disabilities.
Tim Senkowski was seriously injured by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) during his deployment in Afghanistan in October 2011. He lost both legs above the knee, much of the muscle in his right arm and his entire left buttock. Prior to his injuries, Senkowski was the primary caretaker to his wife with a disability, their eldest son, 9-year-old Dusty (who has autism), 4-year-old son Embry and 1-year-old son Takota.
Since the commencement of the project three years ago, Ricker’s Convenience Stores donated more than $45,000 through their in-store fundraising initiative, “A Home for Tim.” In addition to the generous contributions of Ricker’s customers, the donation also included a gift from BP and a company match from Ricker’s.
“We are so thrilled to see Tim and his family finally welcomed to their new home,” said Jay Ricker, Ricker Oil founder and chairman. “Tim is a hero for what he endured for our country’s freedom. We are beyond honored to have been part of this effort for someone so deserving and hope that this home will allow Tim and his family a safe and functional environment for them to grow and thrive.”
On Sept. 21, Smoker Friendly International and The Cigarette Store Corp.’s 89 Smoker Friendly and Gasamat stores were proud to deliver funds totaling $100,237.00 to the Colorado Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The efforts of store clerks and managers selling ribbons and roundups on transactions, combined with an auction held at the 19th annual Smoker Friendly Conference and Tobacco Festival, made the donation possible.
The United Family
The United Family awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships to 52 students. The scholarships were awarded in several areas, including the Texas Tech University Graduate Endowment, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy, and Vernon College Dual Credit Scholarships, which are school-specific awards.
Scholarships were also awarded to current United Family team members and may be used wherever that team member chooses to pursue their education.
“The United Family is proud to acknowledge these deserving scholarship recipients who are continuing their education in so many different fields of study,” said Shelby Crews, senior community relations manager for The United Family. “These scholarships are intended to provide financial assistance for students to have successful and memorable collegiate experiences, while mapping out their plans to change the world.”
In other United Family news, the company raised a record $350,000 through its 24th annual Jacky Pierce Charity Classic golf tournament, held Aug. 30-31. Donations were presented to 25 United Way organizations in West Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth and New Mexico.
The tournament has raised more than $3 million for local charities since its inception in 1991. This year’s effort allowed for donations to 11 additional United Way organizations over prior years.