When Kangaroo Express, the c-store brand operated by The Pantry Inc., launched its âSalute Our Troopsâ campaign this past Memorial Day, it did so with an ambitious goal to raise $1 million by Labor Day. As it turns out, the operator of 1,600 convenience stores throughout the Southeast was not ambitious enough; the company surpassed the $1-million mark by the Fourth of July to finish the summer with a total tally of $2.5 million.
This is just one shining example of why Kangaroo Express was chosen as the winner of the 2011 Spirit Award among companies with 500 or more stores.
âPrograms like Salute Our Troops is one way we try to do well â from a business standpoint â while also doing [well],â said former Pantry CEO Terry Marks, who stepped down in October.
Although the Cary, N.C.-based retailer enjoys philanthropic partnerships with many worthy causes, Kangaroo Express' commitment to military personnel and their families is unrivaled. It is a cause near and dear to the company's collective heart, as more than half of its stores are located within 25 miles of a military installation and one-third of its employees have either served or have family members currently serving in the military.
A summary of its 2011 Community Outreach Campaigns give a peek inside Kangaroo Express' dedication to armed forces. As of the end of August, the company raised $157,336 for the American Widow Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to a new generation of spouses who have lost military heroes. In January, Kangaroo Express helped the Indy 500 Centennial Tour connect with U.S. military personnel at military bases in Europe, the Middle East and an aircraft carrier stationed at sea.
In addition, Kangaroo Express held its third annual fundraiser for Victory Junction, a year-round, all-expense-paid camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. In all, the company presented Victory Junction with a $634,000 donation raised through a promotion with partnership support from Coca-Cola. The donation was more than triple the amount the company raised in 2010.
A little closer to home, the c-store chain held the Battle for Bean Street campaign to help local charities. Despite being in-state basketball rivals, Kangaroo Express got the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and Duke University students to temporarily brush aside those rivalries to support a good cause. At the end of the 2011 basketball season, UNC won $20,000 for its chosen charity; the other two schools won $5,000 for their chosen charities.
With more than $3 million raised through its 2011 Community Outreach Campaigns through the first nine months of this year, one can only wonder what Kangaroo Express' fundraising goal will be next year. â Melissa Kress