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It’s Play Time

Before the NACS Show, industry leaders came together to give back to an Atlanta community.

​By Jeff Lenard

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, how about if you combine work and play? Does that liven things up? When NACS teamed up with one of our Hunter Club supplier partners and a local Atlanta community for some hard work and play(grounds), one September day was certainly made brighter.

Across the country, every day, convenience stores and suppliers give back to their communities in multiple ways: sponsoring Little League teams, donating funds to charities, canister programs, golfing events—the list can go on for miles because giving back to communities is a core value for convenience stores.

To do our part, in September, NACS partnered with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Let’s Play initiative and KaBOOM! to build a new playground in East Point, Georgia, a city just outside of Atlanta. The groups were also joined by local community volunteers as well as volunteers from the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores and the Atlanta Retailers Association.

Let’s Play and KaBOOM! (a national nonprofit dedicated to bringing active play into the daily lives of all kids) have built approximately 30 playgrounds this year in underserved communities across the United States. The city of East Point was selected for, among other reasons, its proximity to Atlanta, the site of the recently concluded NACS Show.

Kicking off in June with “Design Day” and culminating with “Build Day,” the varied groups transformed East Point’s John D. Milner Sports Complex into a beautiful new playground and community gathering spot for kids and their parents. Pride on Build Day was abundant. “Dr Pepper Snapple Group is a shining example of what NACS members—both retailers and suppliers—do for their communities, both in what they give back in time and resources for those in need,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour, who was onsite helping with the playground build.

Armour was joined by NACS 2016-17 Chairman of the Board Rahim Budhwani and NACS Board member Lisa Dell’Alba. “I enjoyed working alongside my industry colleagues and friends,” said Dell’Alba. “Building this playground for the children in East Point was memorable in every way—every child needs a safe and fun place to play.” Kevin Martello, who serves as vice president of national accounts convenience at Dr Pepper Snapple Group and served as the 2015-16 NACS Supplier Board Chairman, was also there to lend a hand.

The local community was truly appreciative of the hard work that everyone contributed to build the playground. “If there was one moment to sum up the experience, it was when we were scurrying to finish by our self-imposed 3:00 pm deadline and a school bus drove by with the neighborhood kids screaming with joy,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard, who also was at the event. “It was truly one of those ‘goose bump’ moments where you see why our industry is involved with communities—it’s for the people whose lives we make better.”

Video from the event can be viewed at nacsonline.com/playground.

Jeff Lenard is the NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. He can be reached at jlenard@nacsonline.com or (703) 518-4272.