ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Several leading convenience store chains and the NACS Foundation, the charitable arm of the industry trade association NACS are celebrating first responders and community volunteers on July 24 in the inaugural 24/7 Day.
Created to honor first responders, fire and police, EMT, doctors and nurses, military and disaster relief volunteers who work around the clock to support communities when disasters strike, this annual event is being launched by the NACS Foundation and participating convenience industry partners in support of the American Red Cross.
Atlanta-based RaceTrac Petroleum and Pennsylvania-based Sheetz Inc. and Wawa Inc. are among the convenience retailers celebrating 24/7 Day and raising awareness for first response and disaster relief efforts.
On July 24, RaceTrac and Sheetz, with a combined total of more than 1,350 stores, will recognize paramedics, EMTs, police officers and firefighters in uniform with a free small cup of coffee or small fountain drink as their way of saying "thanks."
Wawa, which operates more than 840 stores, will express appreciation to Red Cross volunteers with a special lunch followed by a formal check presentation from The Wawa Foundation, which raises contributions in an annual customer donation campaign.
As part of the announcement, The Wawa Foundation will present a direct financial grant to the American Red Cross to support its national disaster relief efforts, along with a program grant to support the Red Cross Sound the Alarm initiative in Richmond, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
The NACS Foundation asks other convenience industry partners and the public to take part in 24/7 Day by:
- Donating to support the American Red Cross' work in communities around the country;
- Learning more about disaster response, relief and preparedness in their community and the American Red Cross' work year-round; and
- Sharing stories and appreciation for heroes and first responders in local communities across the United States on social media using the hashtag #WeHeartHeroes.
In June 2017, NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, became the first retail-focused association to partner with the American Red Cross, which enables both organizations to develop resources that facilitate donation collection by convenience store companies, as well as encourage volunteer assistance programs for Red Cross volunteers around specific local or national events.
NACS retailer and supplier members were credited with donating more than $34 million in disaster relief to the Red Cross in the weeks immediately after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in late 2017.
"Convenience is all about being there when we’re needed most," said Stephanie Sikorski, director of the NACS Foundation. "Disasters affect every one of the communities the convenience industry serves 24/7 and, in times of need, are often the only ones that remain open in a crisis for water, food, fuel and ATMs. That's why the NACS Foundation is proud to partner with our convenience and fuel retail partners to support American Red Cross disaster response, relief and preparedness and the volunteers and first responders who support our communities."
Last year, convenience and fuel retailers contributed and collected more than $1 billion to charitable causes.
Alexandria-based NACS has 1,900 retailer and 1,800 supplier members from more than 50 countries.