Volunteers with the 2007 United Way Gas Day raised $6,197 in tips, almost double the amount of tips received in the 2006 campaign.
“That doesn’t include the oil companies promotion from gas proceeds, that’s strictly tips,” said Aaron Killian, Blount County United Way communications director. “Last year we did $3,500 in tips. This year, just in the afternoon we collected $3,400.”
Killian said the amount raised from the 12 participating convenience stores would be reported after officials from all the stores notified United Way of totals. Downey Oil Co., Calloway Oil Co. and McNutt Oil Co., all donated a nickel for every gallon of fuel purchased Oct. 5.
Coca-Coca and Pepsi also got involved. The Coca-Cola Co. donated a portion of every single Coke sale to United Way. If a customer bought a 12-pack, 20 ounce bottle or a can, a portion went to United Way, Killian said.
Pepsi actually donated 72 cases, or 1,728 cans or bottles, of product at the stations. “For every $2 contribution, the donors received a free Pepsi product of their choice. They had a good rivalry for a good cause,” Killian said of the Pepsi and Coca-Cola companies.
Killian said volunteers and their customers all enjoyed the all-day event and everyone was enthusiastic. “The vibe was electric. Everybody that was out there, it was almost like a rock concert vibe. Everyone was out there talking about United Way, and everyone was real energized,” he said. “Everybody had a smile. They were wiping windows and pumping gas.”
T-shirts were poking fun at the day as well with “Got Gas?” shirts for volunteers and also handed out as prizes.
“The ‘Got Gas?’ T-shirts were such a hit that people who saw store personnel wearing them were offering them money on the spot for their T-shirts,” Killian said. “It was pretty crazy. Next year we’re going to have to print extra shirts and have them on hand.”