The Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation and Stripes Convenience Stores will begin their first year of 4-H fundraising alliance in conjunction with Stripes Store locations in Nueces County, said a Texas 4-H official.

The Texas 4-H program is administered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, part of the Texas A&M University System.

This year’s fundraising effort, known as “Helping Today’s Kids Become Tomorrow’s Leaders,” will run from Sept. 2 to 15, according to said Jana Barrett, Texas 4-H Foundation development relations coordinator at College Station.

Stripes Stores customers may participate by stopping in at one of the 75 store locations throughout Nueces County and buying a 4-H clover cutout or ‘mobile’ for one dollar. Those who purchase a clover receive a coupon for a free 12 oz. Slush Monkey and receive special buy-one-get-one-free pricing on a Monkey Loco Candy. Nueces County Extension Agent Zach Davis said, “The alliance with Stripes is great for Nueces County 4-H and the 800 youth that are involved in our program. We are very thankful for the support from Stripes and the Susser family.”

The alliance has been going for four years in other parts of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. “Funds are used to benefit 4-H locally in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico counties where the stores are located,” Barrett said. “These funds have been used to help counties with their leadership training efforts, help youth attend leadership camps and present workshops, purchase needed equipment, pay registration expenses for 4-H contest participation, and support various 4-H programs and activities.”

This year, participating stores include all Stripes locations throughout Texas, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley area and newly opened stores within the state, as well as stores in eight additional counties of Oklahoma and New Mexico.

“We want to make this year our biggest 4-H Foundation and Stripes Stores collaborative fundraising year to date, with a goal of $400,000 for what is the nation’s largest youth development organization,” Barrett said.

She noted that while counties throughout Texas were helped by last year’s fundraiser, some of those receiving the greatest financial benefit from 2012 efforts included Victoria, Dimmit, Harris, Lubbock, Midland, Reagan, Val Verde and Wichita.

Barrett said during this year’s fundraising campaign representatives from 4-H will continue their popular Facebook contest. Photos will be submitted to the Texas 4-H Foundation and posted on the Texas 4-H Friends & Alumni Facebook page where they can vote for their favorite picture. The county with the picture getting the most Facebook likes will receive an additional donation sponsored by the Alumni Association.

“The 4-H and Youth Development Program is a recognized leader in developing life skills, empowering youth and volunteers, and facilitating effective partnerships to create capable and responsible citizens,” Barrett said. “We’re grateful to once again have the support of Stripes Convenience Stores through this multi-state fundraising effort.”

“Now in our fourth year as a 4-H alliance member, we are really excited about our upcoming campaign,” said Steve DeSutter, Stripes Convenience Stores president and CEO. “With the combined generosity of our customers and the hard work and dedication of our team members we can raise needed funds for these programs which support youth leadership, healthy living, and educational scholarships for local students. We want to make a difference, and we plan to do it one dollar at a time.”

DeSutter said Stripes Stores and the Susser family maintain a longstanding tradition of investing in health and education programs that focus on children.

“We carefully choose initiatives that inspire us, and we are proud to provide support that aids the communities we love so much,” he said.Since 2004, Stripes Convenience Stores has given back over $11.1 million to support hospitals, schools and other community programs through its longtime relationship with organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network, March of Dimes, South Texas Academic Rising Scholars, 4-H and the United Way.

Stripes Stores officials said more than $391,000 has been raised for 4-H through this alliance since 2010 and they hope to surpass the half-million dollar mark with the 2013 campaign in September.

For more information of the fundraising effort in Nueces County, contact Zach Davis at 361.7675220 or zadavis@ag.tamu.edu{/span}. A list of participating Stripes stores can be found at http://www.texas4hfoundation.org under the Stripes Stores Alliance tab.