CHICAGO -- The holidays are a time for giving, and convenience stores across the nation are doing just that. Here’s what nine retailers are doing to celebrate the season and give back to their communities and customers ...
From Dec. 1 through Dec. 12, CEFCO customers who texted “gift” to 27640 received a coupon every day for items such as Fresh Joe Coffee, Fresh Eats sandwiches, fountain drinks, Snickers bars and Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers, which cost only 1 cent with the coupon. And for every coupon redeemed, CEFCO made a 25-cent donation to a coordinating charity, benefiting causes such as cancer research, children’s health, local food banks and more.
2. GPM Investments
In December, more than 980 GPM Investments-operated convenience stores on the East Coast and in the Midwest are raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association through a holiday pinup campaign. Participating stores are selling the holiday-themed paper pinups for $1 to help find treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and dozens of related neuromuscular diseases, as well as send kids with disabilities to barrier-free summer camps.
Since teaming up with MDA in 2011, Richmond, Va.-based GPM has raised more than $970,000 in support of MDA’s mission.
3. Minit Stop
Minit Stop, a c-store retailer on Maui in Hawaii, partnered with the Azeka Shopping Center and Street Bikers United Hawaii for its annual Toys for Tots Holiday Toy Drive, MauiWatch reported. Through Dec. 18, community members could bring new, unwrapped toys to their local Minit Stop store. Monetary donations could also be made by purchasing donation tickets in denominations of $1 and $5 at checkout. Customers purchasing donation tickets had their names posted in the store, and the funds raised will be used to purchase additional toys.
From Dec. 12 through Dec. 24, Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip is giving away one free drink or food item daily as part of its 12 Days of Giving campaign, KGUN-9 reported. Customers can download the QT app to get the digital coupon for the day’s item.
QuikTrip stores also served as a drop-off location for Toys for Tots.
Sheetz for the Kidz, the employee-operated charitable arm of Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz, will help provide 9,300 children with new toys, clothes and other basic needs this holiday season. Each of Sheetz’s 564 c-stores will support 16 children from their local communities by partnering with the Salvation Army to receive wish lists from local families. Sheetz employees will then volunteer their time to shop, wrap and host holiday parties for the children and their families. Sheetz customers can help throughout December by donating at checkout at all Sheetz stores, with 100% of the donations going directly to supporting children in the community.
For the past 25 years, Sheetz for the Kidz has helped make the holiday season brighter for more than 100,000 kids in need across the Mid-Atlantic.
6. Stewart's Shops
As part of its Holiday Match program, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Stewart’s Shops is matching individual donations made at all of its stores from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day. All of the money donated goes to local children’s charities, which must apply for funding by Jan. 31, 2018.
In 2016, the Holiday Match program set a record for the third consecutive season, raising more than $1.85 million in support of 1,737 children’s charities. The program began in 1986 and has raised more than $24 million since.
On Dec. 2, Powell, Tenn.-based Weigel’s celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Weigel’s Family Christmas event, created to bring local children and volunteers together for a Christmas shopping spree. Every year, the Salvation Army selects deserving children, and Weigel’s organizes the event and provides funding. Since the program’s inception in 1998, it has affected more than 3,600 children.
“We started by bringing six kids shopping, and now we invite more than 200,” said Chairman Bill Weigel (pictured above).
This year, kids ages 5 to 9 were each given $150 for a Christmas shopping spree at the Hall’s Kmart store in Knoxville, Tenn. Prior to shopping, the volunteers prepared a complimentary breakfast for the children at the Salvation Army gymnasium.
Through its Give Joy With a Toy campaign, Houston-based convenience-store chain QMart on Dec. 18 donated 500 toys to the Texas Children's Hospital. More than 20 QMarts in the Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, regions participated, and each store gave a toy for each toy purchased.
“We are committed to being fully engaged with the communities where we do business. Our Give Joy with a Toy campaign is an example of this effort, and we are truly grateful for those that contributed,” said QMart CEO Fazil Malik.
As part of Hutch's Season of Giving, the c-store chain is accepting donations through the end of the year for the Salvation Army at its 15 locations in western Oklahoma and Kansas. Customers can donate money or rewards using their Hutch's Rewards tag, and the chain will match the donation, giving all proceeds to the Salvation Army. Hutchinson Oil Co./Hutch's is a family-owned company based in Elk City, Okla.