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Three bottles of Holiday Stationstores bottled water.

Holiday Stationstores, Inc. donates five cents to the University of Minnesota Cancer Center for every 20-ounce bottle of Holiday Pantry Natural Spring Water it sells.

A gift springs from this water

Holiday Stationstores bottled water helps cancer research at the U

By Pauline Oo

December 20, 2005

Bottled water was once considered the refreshment of the affluent. Today, it's the beverage of choice for the thirsty, active, and health-conscious person. And buying bottled water can even help support cancer research at the University of Minnesota.

Since August 2003, Holiday Stationstores, Inc. has donated five cents from every 20-ounce bottle of Holiday Pantry Natural Spring Water to the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. So far, as many as 5.4 million bottles have been sold through more than 300 Holiday corporate stores and 92 franchise stores in 12 states in the northern region of the United States.

"This little program has brought in $295,000 for the Cancer Center," says Rosemary Gruber, development officer in the Minnesota Medical Foundation. "We receive a quarterly check, and all the money goes to cancer prevention research."

The Cancer Center, which is part of the University's Academic Health Center, was founded in 1991. It is one of only 39 institutions in the United States to hold the National Cancer Institute's Comprehensive Cancer Center designation--awarded to centers that make ongoing, significant advances in cancer research, treatment, and education.

Gruber says the Don and Beth Erickson family, owners of Holiday Stationstores and long-time supporters of the Cancer Center, approached the U almost three years ago with the unexpected fund-raising idea. In addition to redesigning the bottle labels--a pink strip above the Holiday Pantry logo notes the five-cent contribution--Holiday StationStores, Inc. created in-store advertising, a link to the U's Cancer Center on its Web site, and a radio promotion to alert consumers to the partnership.

Bottled water explosion

* Americans now drink more bottled water annually than any other type of beverage, besides carbonated soft drinks. In 2004, Americans bought more than 6.8 billion gallons, or an average of 24 gallons per person.

* There are more than 700 brands of bottled water in the United States; 75 are made from imported waters.

* Taste is the number one reason why people say they prefer bottled water.

Source: International Bottled Water Association

"Cancer affects everyone's life in some way," says George Townsend, vice president of Holiday Stationstores (headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota). "By supporting the groundbreaking work at the Cancer Center, we believe we can help make a difference for many people."

According to the International Bottled Water Association, bottled "spring water" must be derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. The Holiday Pantry Natural Spring Water, which retails at 99 cents in Minneapolis (20-ounce bottle), comes from the Lafayette Spring in Wisconsin and undergoes UV treatment, microfiltration, and ozonation.

"We've been very fortunate; people support this program enthusiastically, particularly in the summer when it's hot," says Gruber. If you support cancer research but didn't know about this program, now's the time to "go out and buy that water," she adds. "It's a good, healthy drink."