The holidays are celebrated by feasting and merrymaking, but for upstate New York’s Stewart’s Shops, this time of year is also a crucial occasion for giving back. The chain of popular gas station and convenience stores, which comprises more than 335 locations across much of Upstate New York and Southern Vermont, is currently kicking its charitable giving into high gear with its annual Holiday Match Program. Every year from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, the program allows customers at any Stewart’s location to make in-store donations to regional nonprofits, contributions that the company matches.
“As a good corporate citizen, it’s very important for Stewart’s to give back,” says Amy Potter, corporate contributions director at Stewart’s Shops. “Without our customers and their communities, there would be no Stewart’s.” All of the money raised through Holiday Match gets donated to area organizations that provide social services, healthcare, education, recreation and more to kids under the age of 18. “Many customers buy a coffee every morning, and they opt to put the change from their purchase into the collection jug by the register,” says Potter. “It really adds up.” It certainly does: Now in its 33rd year, the Holiday Match program has raised more than $28 million for children’s charities.
The charitable ways at Stewart’s extend far beyond the holiday season. In addition to the funds raised via the Holiday Match Program, Stewart’s annually gives another $2.5 million to similar charities that impact young people’s lives. That generosity takes many forms, including donations, gift certificates and gifts of branded products for charitable events. “There may be a focus on underserved families now because it’s the holiday season, but these are the same people who may need assistance the rest of the year as well,” Potter says. “We give to help fund local field trips for students, put kids with autism on horseback, build playgrounds and aid veteran causes. The list goes on.”
That inventory of charities is continually expanding. Potter encourages local nonprofits and organizations to apply to benefit from Stewart’s fundraising efforts. “Applications are available on our website, or you can give us a call,” she says. “We are committed to supporting our communities and pride ourselves on knowing a lot of our customers by name.”