CHICAGO — During the month of July, many retailers participated in NACS 24/7 Day to honor first responders and healthcare workers on July 24. Convenience-store chains and suppliers also found other ways to give back all month—especially to those working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This month’s roundup features 17 retailers and three industry suppliers and partners who recently donated to their communities ...
Dash In, La Plata, Md., delivered more than 2,500 personal messages and snacks to healthcare workers and first responders in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. It created the Snack-O-Gram program to show appreciation for local heroes who are keeping people safe amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the company.
Dash In customers could participate in the program through May by visiting dashin.com, selecting a snack and writing an appreciation note to a healthcare worker or first responder.
The c-store chain also offered a free breakfast sandwich to those groups of workers between April 27 and May 3.
Dash In’s parent company, The Wills Group, also committed $300,000 in unrestricted grants to support nonprofits in the Mid-Atlantic region. In total, the group has given more $500,000 to address rising food insecurity caused by COVID-19 since March.
QuickChek Corp., Whitehouse Station, N.J., packed 19,350 meals for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey’s Emergency Box Program.
Fourteen volunteers from the c-store chain’s corporate headquarters and from local QuickChek stores spent two hours packing the meals. Each box was placed in a car with no direct contact.
Another team of QuickChek employees packed 12,513 meals to aid the Island Harvest Food Bank’s efforts to help Long Islanders in need amid COVID-19.
QuickChek has raised more than $761,000 in the five years it has partnered with the Check-Out Hunger campaign that takes place of the winter holidays each year.
Rutter’s, York, Pa., and Feeding the Frontline provided frontline workers a free meal at Rutter’s on July 24 to the first 200 eligible customers. The meals included a grab-and-go sandwich or wrap, a bag of chips and a regular fountain drink, and could be redeemed at any Rutter’s location. The offer was available to first responders in uniform, medical or active-duty military members with identification and Rutter’s store employees.
Rutter’s is also collecting money through its Charity Cannister program through July to help support local America Red Cross initiatives. Customers can make monetary donations at any location.
From July 18 to 23, the c-store chain gave away $1,000 a day to local charities supporting first responders and it made a $5,000 donation on July 24.
Rutter’s has also donated $50,000 to the Crispus Attucks Association of York, a community-founded non-profit organization that seeks to expand perspectives so diversity is celebrated, according to its website. The money will directly support efforts in revitalizing the southeastern neighborhood of downtown York.
Wawa hosted its first virtual Hoagie Day Event on July 1 that included all of the chain’s 900 stores. Wawa employees built Hoagie sandwiches and donated 45,000 hoagies to first responders, healthcare workers and veterans’ associations.
Each year, Hoagie Day support’s Wawa’s partnership with the USO, a nonprofit that strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country. Wawa is based in Wawa, Pa.
Sheetz, Altoona, Pa., is supporting Sheetz For the Kidz throughout July. The employee-driven charity supports underprivileged children. Customers can support children in their community through donation boxes near the register and by adding donations to their purchases.
Sheetz for the Kidz gives children holiday gifts such as toys, clothes and more. Sheetz employees also shop, wrap and host holiday parties for the children and their families. More than $1.7 million was distributed last year, affecting more than 9,700 children in the six states where Sheetz operates.
The campaign also sponsors wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions through Make-A-Wish and recently gave $620,000 to Feeding America. Customers can donate online at https://www.sheetz.com/ftk.
Tanforan Shell & Carwash
The Tanforan Shell & Carwash in San Bruno, Calif., helped promote the arts in the Bay Area in July.
Relief-O-Rama started on July 4 and continued every weekend throughout the month. The event transformed the local wash into a virtual reality arts-immersive cultural happening as it still washed cars, the company said. The event also featured a dunk tank, comedians, impersonators and live music.
Fifteen percent of proceeds from the event supported COVID-19 response efforts, local schools and arts, orphanages and other humanitarian projects, according to the store.
Tanforan Shell donated more than $350,000 to causes to date.
Pilot Co., owner and operator of the Pilot and Flying J travel center networks, raised money for the Call of Duty Endowment through an in-store campaign.
The endowment is an organization dedicated to helping veterans. Customers visiting Pilot and Flying J travel centers and One9 Fuel Network stores had the opportunity to round up their purchases to donate to the cause.
"Pilot has had a long history of giving back to veteran-related causes, including the Call of Duty Endowment,” said James A. Haslam II, founder of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Co. and veteran. “We are honored to partner with them again through this round-up campaign to assist veterans in finding high-quality careers. The change in your pocket can add up to life-changing support for our nation's service men and women."
The organization also supported the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in a campaign that ran through July 27. Customers could make a donation to the cause at Pilot Co.’s stores.
7-Eleven (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
7-Eleven franchisees Dave and Rocky Singh handed out more than 1,100 bags of groceries to customers at their store in Daytona Beach to help customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everyone’s going through hardship in these uncertain times and, I think it’s not only our duty but our responsibility to help each other out as family,” Rocky Singh said.
The bags included toilet paper, eggs, bread and water.
7-Eleven (Orcutt, Calif.)
The owner of a 7-Eleven franchises in Orcutt, Arroyo Grande and Santa Barbara, Calif., and his family served more than 600 meals to the homeless and frontline workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Santa Maria Times reported. Arwinder Singh Chahal, who goes by Ravi, wanted to help out during a difficult time, the report said.
Chahal and his family served meals to workers at the Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande police departments, the homeless center set up at Santa Maria High School and more. They also donated 150 face masks and 2,000 gloves to Marian Regional Medical Center, according to the newspaper.
Kwik Chek, Bonham, Texas, raised more than $10,000 for United Way to help people affected by COVID-19.
The c-store chain partnered with sister company McCraw Oil to join the #TexansHelpingTexans and #OklahomansHelpingOklahomans initiatives and pledged to match the first $5,000 raised in the store.
Customers could add $1, $3 or $5 to their total at checkout to go to a local United Way.
GPM Investments LLC
GPM Investments LLC, Richmond, Va., is teaming up with Feeding America to help people during the COVID-19 crisis.
"Unemployment continues to be a problem, and many people are faced with the stress of figuring out where their next meal will come from,” said Arie Kotler, GPM’s CEO. “I am proud that our more than 10,000 dedicated store associates and our millions of customers will raise money to help fight hunger in their communities.”
From July 15 to Sept. 8, GPM associations across all company-owned locations will sell Feeding America pinups for $1. Customers can also round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar or make a contribution of their choice. GPM is also working with suppliers to raise money.
All proceeds will remain in the community where they were raised, GPM said.
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc.
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla., is donating $125,000 to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit dedicated to building strong, stable and secure military families.
Consumers can increase that donation by buying a special edition Operation Homefront/Love's 24-ounce mug for $7.99. Mugs are sold at Love’s Travel Stops starting July 1 while supplies last. For each mug purchased, Love’s will donate an additional $2 to the cause.
Some funds will go toward immediate needs related to COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our veterans, service members and their families,” said retired Brig. Gen. Robert Thomas, COO of Operation Homefront. “We are grateful to our friends at Love’s Travel Stops who have joined Operation Homefront to serve America’s military families at a time when they need our support more than ever.”
Murphy USA, El Dorado, Ark., is one of many organizations raising money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. From June 30 through Sept. 1, Murphy USA is asking customers to round up or donate $1, $5, or $10 to support the organization, which enables young people most in need to achieve great futures.
Stewart’s Shops has provided more than $1 million in money and products to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stewart’s Shop provided help through COVID-19 relief grants, which went toward food certificates to families in need and homeless shelters and for personal protective equipment.
The Ballston Spa, N.Y.-based c-store chain donates about $2.5 million a year to local nonprofits with the Dake Family Foundations contributing an additional $5 million. At this time, the company is pausing its COVID-19 relief applications to look at applications that go beyond the coronavirus.
Yesway, West Des Moines, Iowa, participated in the NACS Foundation’s 24/7 Day, a day to give back to the community on July 24.
Yesway supported 24/7 Day in 2020 by offering a free fountain, frozen or coffee beverage of any size to police, fire, EMTs, doctors, nurses, health practitioners, 911 dispatchers and American Red Cross volunteers who visited Yesway or Allsup convenience stores on July 24.
The chains also encouraged people to take part in the day by sharing stories and appreciation for local community heroes on social media using #247Day.
Yesway employees could also receive free dispensed beverages throughout the week of July 24 to July 31.
Carroll Independent Fuel’s High’s c-store chain took place in the NACS Foundatin’s 24/7 Day by offering a free coffee or fountain drink to frontline hospital staff, police officers, firefighters, EMS and American Red Cross volunteers. The Baltimore-based chain also donated 10 cents of every cup of coffee and fountain drink during the week of 24/7 to the Red Cross and encouraged community members to share stories of their heroes on social media using #247Day.
Global Partners, Waltham, Mass., gave back in a variety of ways amid the pandemic. Here are some highlights:
- From April 24 to June 5, employees at Global Partners' c-stores delivered thousand of free meals to healthcare workers and first responders.
- Global Partners’ Alltown Fresh brand launched the One for One program in April to donate fresh food to healthcare workers and first responders in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Through the initiative, for every meal sold at Alltown Fresh, a meal is donated to a first responder or hospital employee.
- In mid-May, Global Partners delivered more than 3,000 scratch-made meals to every frontline worker at Global’s retailer stations and facilities.
- Five Global Partners’ c-stores gave away cards for 375 free car washes to workers at five hospitals in Massachusetts.
- On June 24, five stores gave 500 free gift cards to healthcare workers and first responders in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Arrow McLaren SP and Vuse Vapor
Auto racing team Arrow McLaren SP (AMSP) and sponsor Vuse Vapor donated a wheelchair-accessible van to the Helping Veterans and Families of Indiana Inc. The donation will help the foundation support homeless veterans throughout central Indiana, including delivering food and providing transportation to and from the VA.
"Our relationship with AMSP has impacted our company more than any other partnership in recent memory, and one of the main reasons is because the partnership enables us to support the communities in which we race and live," said Natasha Webster, spokesperson for Vuse Vapor and a veteran. "Everyone in our organization is behind this effort and we are incredibly excited to inspire acceleration by delivering this mobility solution to such a deserving group."
This is the second vehicle Vuse and AMSP donated during the modified 2020 NTT Indycar series and part of a global partnership between Vuse Vapor and parent company British American Tobacco, London, and McLaren. Vuse Vapor is a sponsor of AMSP for the 2020 NTT Indycar series.
Tanknology Inc., Austin, Texas, a provider of environmental compliance testing and inspection services, is honoring employees that are veterans of the armed forces with a donation to Folds of Honor. The non-profit organization provides scholarships to spouses and children of fallen and disabled service members.
The company is also recognizing its armed forces veterans—who make up more than 30% of Tanknology’s employees—by making apparel that will display the logo of each employee’s branch of the military.
Anheuser-Busch’s Estrella Jalisco
Anheuser-Busch’s Mexican beer brand, Estrella Jalisco, is pledging $1 million by 2025 to bring art to 100 communities in the southwestern United States and asking people to nominate local stars who are making a positive impact in their communities.
Estrella Jalisco’s Artists in Residence program will transform blank walls in public spaces to vibrant murals, according to the St. Louis-based beer maker. Each mural will have a connection to its neighborhood by featuring a “local star.”
To nominate a local star who is making an impact in their communities in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and El Paso, Texas, consumers tag a local star and @EstrellaJalisco on Twitter using #SaludYourStar and #contest.
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