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Sheetz for the kidz

Sheetz workers pose in front of a truckload of toys for Sheetz for Kidz.

Sheetz is a lot more than just your friendly neighborhood convenience store.

For several years, The Salvation Army and Sheetz have collaborated to bring holiday cheer to underprivileged children. In late January, they announced the successful conclusion of the 2020 Sheetz For the Kidz holiday program, which was part of the Salvation Army’s “Rescue Christmas” campaign.

Thanks to the generosity of Sheetz employees and customers, nearly 10,000 children in need from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina were able to celebrate the holiday season with new toys, clothes, and basic needs.

Prior to COVID-19, the Sheetz For the Kidz program worked with The Salvation Army to identify underprivileged children within Sheetz’s footprint and to collect their holiday wish lists. Sheetz employees from each operating area would purchase items on the children’s wish lists, wrap them, and host parties for all the participating children. Customer donations were collected in Sheetz stores, and local fundraisers were held to support the program.

 

Partnerships matter

In 2020, the program looked very different but was still a huge success. More than $1.7 million worth of items were distributed, and over 200 drive-by toy distributions were hosted, making the holiday season brighter for nearly 10,000 children in six states.

“The Salvation Army witnessed an unprecedented level of need due to the pandemic in 2020,” said Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, national commander of The Salvation Army. “The Sheetz For the Kidz program helped bring some holiday cheer to thousands of underprivileged children and was a wonderful addition to the Salvation Army’s Rescue Christmas campaign. We are grateful for the generous support of Sheetz and their commitment to helping us Do the Most Good.”

Sheetz For the Kidz is a non-profit charity independent of the Sheetz Corporation. The charity was created in 1992 by local store employees wanting to help local children. To date, the charity has helped more than 139,000 children living in the communities Sheetz serves.

“The Sheetz for the Kidz holiday program has helped The Salvation Army serve local communities throughout six states for many years,” said Samantha Arciuolo, director of corporate engagement for The Salvation Army’s USA Eastern Territory.

“In a year of so much uncertainty, we were grateful for their continued support in 2020, and for coming alongside us to help ‘Rescue Christmas.’ Requests for services were at an all-time high because of COVID-19 and we couldn’t have met the unprecedented need if it wasn’t for our generous supporters like Sheetz.”

 

Sheetz workers shop for toys.

Standing in the gap

The mission of the charity is to provide support, hope, joy, and happiness to children in need within the communities in which Sheetz operates.

“Every child deserves to experience the joy of the holidays, and while the holiday season looked very different this year, we are proud that Sheetz For the Kidz and The Salvation Army were able to work together to still make the season brighter for so many children in our area,” said Sheetz President and COO Travis Sheetz. “This past year, the need was greater than ever before and we appreciate the continued dedication and passion of our employees, who are so committed to helping the communities their stores serve.”

Before the pandemic, one in six Americans lived in poverty, and more than 70 percent were living paycheck to paycheck. A new study released by Columbia University in October 2020 estimated that an additional 8 million Americans had slid into poverty due to the pandemic.

With the arrival of a new year, research by the Aspen Institute estimates 30-40 million people could be at risk of eviction in the months ahead.

by Stephanie Rex and Robert Mitchell

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