Kum & Go partnered with Please Pass The Love and will share this spring’s “Stick By Me” suicide prevention initiative within its 400-plus stores serving communities across 11 states.
The stickers, featuring crisis lifelines and resources via phone number and QR code, are being shared with students and educators at more than 1,000 schools across Iowa for no cost through Please Pass The Love. Kum & Go has committed to display the stickers in all of its stores’ restroom stalls across its footprint.
“I’m not shy in talking about my own mental health journey,” Kum & Go CEO Tanner Krause said. “These past few years have brought a tremendous amount of stress and pressure on all of us. I’m proud to say I’ve sought out my own mental health resources which have provided me valuable guidance on how to live my life.
“Kum & Go is committed to making days better for our community. If the Stick By Me project with Kum & Go inspires just one person to seek the resources to allow them to start living a healthier, happier life, then we will be quite proud of our work with Please Pass the Love.”
“Stick By Me” was launched in February 2022 as an urgent community response to numerous suicides of young Des Moines, Iowa, area students. Please Pass The Love used its role in Iowa as an education-focused advocacy organization to provide suicide prevention resources to educators and students of all ages by sharing crisis information and encouraging them to talk about their mental health and well-being.
Through “Stick By Me” messaging, Please Pass The Love is asking schools, businesses and other service-based nonprofits to display the stickers and make the support resources available to their communities. Kum & Go stores and restrooms offer a heavily-trafficked display for countless community members who may be in need.
“When you have a children’s mental health system made out of toothpicks it is not surprising to see an increase in mental health struggles and suicides, but it is heartbreaking when we know it is preventable. Our team launched this grassroots no frills campaign because we desperately want to get crisis information out to people knowing it will save lives,” said Please Pass The Love Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Ulie-Wells. “We are so grateful to our partners like Kum & Go for their tremendous commitment to mental health and hope more businesses will also join us.”
Per state data, suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Iowa youth and mental health professionals are reporting increased rates of youth with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also seen a significant rise in emergency room visits for mental health-related crises, with mental health needs far outpacing available services.
“Please Pass the Love’s focus on transforming mental health and suicide prevention in youth is the perfect alignment with Kum & Go’s core values and purpose,” said Reed Rainey, Kum & Go’s chief operating officer. “We are honored to play a role and positively impact the communities in which we serve, live and do business by being a partner in their Stick By Me initiative.”
Established in Hampton, Iowa in 1959, Kum & Go is a fourth-generation, family-owned convenience store chain that has been dedicated to sharing 10% of all profits back to the communities it serves. Kum & Go plans to hire over 5,000 associates across all locations this year, adding 176 food positions as it expands its brand and food program in the Des Moines market.