UPDATE: This story has been updated to include additional companies.
CHICAGO — As convenience-store brands increasingly take action to combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, multiple chains have introduced food donation programs for front-line workers in hospitals and police departments, as well as for children and families who are in need during this period.
Here is a list of some of the chains that have done so …
Through a campaign that began April 10, Circle K c-stores are donating one meal per fuel transaction to a food bank in the Feeding America network and expects to donate 25 million meals overall to the nonprofit, the company said. Circle K also began offering free coffee, tea and Polar Pop beverages to healthcare workers and first responders, as well as its own front-line store team members, in late March.
Alltown Fresh, a convenience-store division of Global Partners LP, is donating fresh food to healthcare first responders in Massachusetts and Connecticut through its One for One program. Alltown Fresh will provide one meal to a local hospital professional or first responder for every sandwich, salad or bowl customers purchase at one of its locations.
Alltown Fresh made its first drop-offs April 3 at four hospitals: Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, Mass.; Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Mass.; Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, Conn.; and Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn.
Kwik Trip has partnered with various school districts in Wisconsin to provide milk for student meals during school closures, according to a report from WXOW.
The school districts are supplying food seven days per week for children under the age of 18 and distributing every Wednesday, according to a report from WKBT-DT. Families are receiving USDA-approved meals that include one or more gallons of milk based on the number of children in the household.
Kwik Trip has become the main milk supplier for these school districts, and the c-store chain hopes to use this program as a means to partner with more schools on a regular basis for their lunch programs, the reports said.
Sheetz has debuted its Kidz Meal Bagz program in all stores. The program provides free food to help children and families in need during the pandemic and includes a turkey sandwich, chips and a drink. Families interested in receiving a free Kidz Meal Bagz program can go to any Sheetz location and ask an employee for a meal at the register or through the drive-thru. Meals will be available daily while supplies last, and all families receiving a Kidz Meal Bag will be offered one bag per child.
“With this expansion, we will be giving away roughly 80,000 meals per week across the communities we serve,” said Travis Sheetz, president and COO of Sheetz.
Wawa is donating 3,000 meals every week to front-line workers in hospitals, police and fire departments, including the Einstein Healthcare Network in Pennsylvania; Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Jersey; Beebe Healthcare in Delaware; Johns Hopkins Healthcare in Maryland; Virginia Commonwealth University Health System; Northshore Medical Center in Florida; and Georgetown MedStar University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Casey's General Stores
Casey’s General Stores has donated more than 30,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank of Iowa, as well as more than 7,700 pounds of food to the Terre Haute Catholic Charities in Indiana, to support those hit by the pandemic. Food items provided include Eckrich presliced bologna, Eckrich presliced salami, presliced roast beef sandwiches, presliced turkey sandwiches, egg salad, tuna salad and chicken salad.
Louisville, Ky.-based Thorntons is delivering fresh doughnuts to hospitals in Louisville and Lexington, Ky.; southern Indiana; Indianapolis; and Cincinnati to support front-line workers amid the pandemic. The hospitals include Norton Healthcare, University of Louisville Hospital, Clark Memorial Hospital, Baptist Hospital East and Baptist-Floyd Memorial Hospital.
Thorntons is also offering free beverages to first responders and healthcare workers at all stores nationwide. The free beverages include a small coffee, cappuccino or fountain drink. Customers must present valid identification to receive the free beverage.
Kwik Chek, Bonham, Texas, has rolled out Family Meal Deals and Family Kwik Packs for customers to pick up and take home during the pandemic. The Family Meal Deals are:
- 10 chicken tenders, two 16-ounce sides and four rolls for $15.99.
- Six original breakfast tacos for $8.99 or 12 for $13.99; six original lunch tacos with two 16-ounce sides for $13.99; or 13 original lunch tacos for $19.99.
- Kings Ranch Casserole (48-ounce), large salad and four Texas toasts for $19.99.
- Four Chicken Fried Steaks with gravy, two 16-ounce sides, a large salad and four Texas toasts for $19.99.
- Four one-third-pound Burgers with veggie toppings and four sides of fries for $19.99.
- Two 14-inch two-topping pizzas with a large salad for $19.99.
The Family Kwik Packs are available at Kwik Chek’s cold grab-and-go section and include chicken salad, brisket, carne guisada, picadillo, pork tamales, mac and cheese, charro beans, mashed potatoes and green beans. Offerings vary by store location.
In early April, Daily's convenience stores, a division of First Coast Energy LLC, Jacksonville, Fla., provided 100 food packages to customers adversely affected by the pandemic. Each package included a pound of deli meat, a loaf of freshly baked bread, chips and sweets. The retailer gave out the food on a first-come, first-served basis, and it left the packages on tables outside to promote social distancing, the company said.
ExxonMobil has donated thousands of meals to Houston-area healthcare workers, police officers and firefighters battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the fuel retailer has donated $100,000 to the TX Restaurant Relief Fund—a program that provides financial support to Texas’s independent restaurants and its employees—for the preparation and delivery of approximately 6,000 meals for front-line workers.
This initiative will allow participating restaurants to rehire up to 50% of their furloughed employees, said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and Education Foundation.
Given the uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, 7-Eleven Inc. said it will not celebrate its annual 7-Eleven Day on as July 11 (7/11) in stores this year. Instead, the convenience-store retailer is giving a “special birthday gift” of one million meals to Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the country.
Every $1 spent at 7-Eleven provides 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of member food banks. 7-Eleven’s commitment includes $100,000.
"At 7-Eleven, our top priority is the safety of customers, franchisees and employees," said Marissa Jarratt, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for 7-Eleven, Irving, Texas. "Gathering nine million of our closest friends in stores on one day just didn't feel right, but I am heartened that we now have the opportunity to help the communities and neighborhoods that have been the lifeline of our business since 1927."
Rutter’s has donated more than $50,000 worth of food and beverages to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank since the beginning of March as a measure of COVID-19 relief. Donated items include packaged family-size meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Our company was founded in the food industry, so we understand the importance of providing our communities with access to nutritious meals,” said Scott Hartman, president and CEO of Rutter’s, York, Pa. “We hope our continued donations are able to provide peace of mind for local families during these trying times.”
Rutter’s and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank have collaborated since before the pandemic. In 2019, Rutter’s donated more than $400,000 in food and drinks to the food bank.
The chain plans to continue its long-term support with the organization, it said.
Weigel’s has delivered dozens of pizzas and doughnuts to 15 local hospitals and 18 fire departments over the last few weeks. The pizzas and doughnuts are products Weigel’s makes in-house daily, making them ideal foods it can supply in bulk, the company said.
“The men and women who are on the front line each day serving our needs during this pandemic is such a heroic dedication to their professions,” said Kurt Weigel, director of recruiting for Weigel’s, Powell, Tenn. “We just wanted to do a little something to let them know how much we appreciate them.”
Quicklee’s Convenience Stores has partnered with several local food manufacturers to donate healthy, locally sourced snack packs to firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMT). Quicklee’s collaborated with local food producers N.Y. Chips, Partyka Pumpkin Seeds, The Perfect Granola and its main distributor, Healthy U, for the program. The donation included 400 snack packs delivered to 18 fire departments and emergency medical centers in New York’s Livingston and Monroe counties.
“We are honored to support the hard-working first responders in our area,” said Ken Perelli, vice president of Quicklee’s, Avon, N.Y. “They offer our communities a service that is critically important, especially during these uncertain times, and we wanted to offer a token of our gratitude.”