Community Service Spotlight: Country Fair, Wawa & Zip Trip

NATIONAL REPORT -- Giving back through community service efforts and charity donations is a positive force that keeps many retailers and suppliers of this industry moving ahead. On a regular basis, Convenience Store News highlights these philanthropic efforts in this special section.

Here are the latest company spotlights:

Cenex Zip Trip

Cenex Zip Trip, with 25 convenience stores and fuel stations across Montana, will help send 15 World War II veterans, at a cost of $15,000, to Washington, D.C., in May, which is the final tour of Big Sky Honor Flight.

Through March 23, six of Cenex Zip Trip's vendors, including PepsiCo Inc., The Coca-Cola Co., Coremark Holding Co. Inc., Boyd Coffee Co., Frito-Lay and Williams Inland, donated a portion of their proceeds to Big Sky Honor Flight.

During the same period, employees paid a flat fee to dress casually. Customers also contributed through a special promotion for a discount on gas for their donation.

It is the second time the company has helped send World War II veterans to the nation's capital. In the summer of 2012, it contributed more than $5,000 toward the effort.

Country Fair Inc.

CITGO Retailer Country Fair Inc. hit a major fundraising milestone by raising $1 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  

This year's campaign gave customers at all 71 Country Fair locations across northwestern Pennsylvania, western New York and eastern Ohio the opportunity to purchase $1, $5 or $10 paper shamrock mobiles to benefit MDA. The program came to an end on St. Patrick's Day, March 17.

The Parker Cos.

Georgia entrepreneur Greg Parker, president and CEO of The Parker Cos., recently announced a $1 million donation to help begin a major renovation and expansion of Memorial Health’s emergency department and Level 1 trauma center in Savannah, Ga. Once built, the center will be named the Parker’s Emergency & Trauma Center in honor of Parker’s Convenience Stores. 
The million dollar gift fits with Parker’s corporate goal of giving back to the communities where the company does business. In fall 2011, Parker’s launched the Fueling the Community Program, where one cent of every gallon of gas sold on the first Wednesday of each month is set aside for local schools. Parker’s has donated more than $100,000 to public and private schools in Georgia and South Carolina.

Stripes Convenience Stores

Stripes Convenience Stores launched a new program for elementary school students to learn about fresh vegetables through the Stripes Fresh Learning Garden seeded by Laredo Taco Co. grant. 

Stripes Stores will accept applications to award $200 grants to public elementary schools throughout the Stripes market areas (southern Texas) to plant the seeds that will be the ingredients for tomorrow’s pico de gallo. 

Grant applications will be accepted until April 20. Teachers interested in applying should visit

Selected schools will also receive a “Get a Fresh Start Teachers’ Appreciation Breakfast Party” from Stripes Stores. 

Awards will be distributed by Sept. 1. A limit of one grant may be awarded per teacher per school. Selected schools should begin to prepare a fall harvest garden by September 30.

Wawa Inc.

Wawa Inc., lent a helping hand to the sixth annual Clean Communities Environmental Student Exchange, a New Jersey Clean Communities Council initiative. This student exchange works to promote the facilitation and exchange of information and ideas on environmental issues related to litter and the proper handling of waste among groups of students from points all over New Jersey, with special attention paid to ocean and bay issues.

More than a dozen Wawa associates joined the initiative on March 20, rolling up their sleeves and serving in the effort to clean the beaches across the Ocean City, N.J., beachfront. They also prepared lunches for the more than 1,000 students participating in the initiatives.

The goal of the two-day event is for students to gain a holistic view of environmental issues in New Jersey and gain the tools necessary to solve environmental problems. Throughout the event, students get a chance to contrast and compare environmental issues of the states shoreline, and create new and more innovative solutions.

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