ORANGEBURG, S.C.—Four QuikTrip gas stations in South Carolina have joined with Palmetto Place Children and Youth Services and Safe Place to provide a secure spot for endangered youth to get help, The State reports.
A minor in need of assistance can wait next to a brightly labeled, yellow Safe Place sign. That alerts a trained QT employee to contact Palmetto Place, which sends someone to the store to help the youth. The young person can wait inside the store for help to arrive.
“Unfortunately in today’s world, young people face family problems, homelessness, bullying, neglect, abuse and even human trafficking. Expanding the safety net for youth through this partnership helps combat the growing epidemic of youth homelessness across the Columbia community by giving them access to immediate help and safety,” said Laurie Jackson, president and CEO of National Safe Place Network.
Safe Place also mans a 24-hour, national text-for-support program, TXT4HELP. Youth can text the word “SAFE” to 4HELP (44357) for the closest Safe Place location, as well as text with a counselor one-on-one.
Convenience stores can provide aid to at-risk youth through National Safe Place, a fee-based community outreach program that agencies, local businesses and local government partner with to create a network of “Safe Places” where youth in crisis can get immediate help.
“QuikTrip’s long-term engagement with the Safe Place program shows how our industry’s core attributes—convenient locations; extended hours of operation; and most of all, friendly, familiar faces—can be a beacon of hope to a youth in need when it’s needed most. It’s inspiring how QuikTrip makes a difference in communities with this program and was a central reason why I also got involved with Safe Place,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives and a Safe Place board member since 2015.
Lenard encouraged NACS retailer or supplier members interested in learning about how they can become involved with Safe Place to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Convenience stores help youth in numerous other ways as well. Many retailers will be wearing blue on #WearBlueDay this coming January 11 to raise awareness of the fight against human trafficking. Additionally, you can read more about convenience stores charitable donations in the article “Convenience Cares for Communities” in the January 2021 issue of the NACS Magazine.