Convenience Industry Companies Support Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts
Companies are donating to relief funds and offering free beverages to first responders and utility crews.
NATIONAL REPORT — Members of the convenience store industry are stepping up to help out in the wake of Hurricane Ian, the Category 4 hurricane that struck Florida in late September.
Companies have offered money and other support as frontline workers and communities work to recover from devastating flooding and wind damage.
RaceTrac Inc., which offers free coffee and fountain drinkers to first responders around the clock all year long at its 550-plus stores, is extending this offer to power utility crews working to restore power to thousands of homes and businesses across Florida. First responder and utility crew personnel need to be in uniform or display a work badge at the cash register to receive the free beverages.
The convenience store operator will also offer fuel priority to first responders and power utility crews in the event that there is a line at the fuel pumps.
"RaceTrac has had the pleasure to serve the state of Florida for over 20 years," said Melanie Isbill, chief marketing officer at RaceTrac. "It's important to do everything we can to help each other during these challenging times. Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by Hurricane Ian, and we want to extend a special thank you to first responders and utility crews who need to hydrate and recharge while working tirelessly throughout the recovery period."
Atlanta-based RaceTrac also donated $50,000 to the Florida Disaster Fund, the state's official private fund established to provide financial assistance to communities as they respond to and recover from times of emergency or disaster, and $50,000 plus bottled water to the Southwest Florida Emergency Relief Fund. Both organizations are assisting the communities hit hardest by Hurricane Ian.
Chevron Corp. has committed to $500,000 in support of relief efforts in Florida. First Lady DeSantis' Volunteer Florida Foundation will receive $200,000 to aid efforts in response to the storm; Team Rubicon will receive $150,000; and the American Red Cross and the Fuel Relief Fund will each receive a $75,000 donation to support immediate relief efforts throughout the impacted region.
The company will also match qualifying donations to hurricane relief efforts made by employees and Chevron retirees, and will provide financial contributions to organizations where employees volunteer.
"Our thoughts are with all the people whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Ian," said Andy Walz, president of Chevron Americas Fuels & Lubricants. "With deep ties in Florida, we are hopeful this donation will help communities get back on their feet."
San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron has a large retail presence in Florida. It supplies more than 600 independently owned Chevron and Texaco stations and operates three fuel supply terminals.
Wawa Inc. also contributed aid, as Convenience Store News reported. The Pennsylvania-based retailer, which has had a substantial Florida presence for more than a decade, donated $500,000 to the Florida Disaster Fund.
Additionally, Wawa stores across Florida are providing free coffee and fountain beverages to all first responders, including police, fire, EMT and the National Guard.
"As a member of the Florida community for more than a decade, we believe Wawa has a responsibility to give back and provide much-needed support for our Florida friends and neighbors during times of need," said Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens. "While recovery efforts continue, Wawa will do everything in our power to help our community and remain stocked with essential food and fuel during these challenging times. We thank our heroic first responders and friendly neighbors doing their part to support our communities and get us back and running again."
On Oct. 4, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation Inc. also launched a campaign to provide disaster relief assistance to those communities most affected by Hurricane Ian. Since the campaign began customers across Wawa's operating area have donated more than $130,000 to the American Red Cross through donations of $1, $3 or $5 added to their purchase at checkout.
The Wawa Foundation will be matching the first $250,000 in customer contributions to the campaign. The campaign will run until Oct. 16 in all of Wawa's more than 970 stores throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. All donations made through The Wawa Foundation's campaign will be donated to the Red Cross and will be designated specifically for Hurricane Ian disaster relief efforts.