WAWA, Pa. — Wawa Inc. celebrated its first-ever chainwide virtual Hoagie Day event on July 1 as part of the fully virtual and free Welcome America Celebration. This is the retailer's 11th year as title sponsor of the event.
The 28th annual Hoagie Day expanded beyond Philadelphia through a mix of virtual and in-person events designed to honor local heroes while continuing Wawa's tradition of giving back, the company said.
For the first time, Hoagie Day featured participation from all 900 Wawa stores. More than 45,000 hoagies were built by employees across the convenience store retailer's six-state and Washington, D.C., operating area and donated to local community heroes and organizations; first responders; healthcare heroes and facilities; and veterans' associations.
All communities regardless of their location were invited to virtually join and participate in Hoagie Day through a special video showcasing Wawa's company-wide hoagie build along with heartfelt delivery drop-offs and receptions by local first responders, frontline healthcare workers, volunteers and veterans.
The video launched on NBC 10's Philly Love Show before being distributed on WelcomeAmerica.com, with Wawa's social media channels showcasing highlights of the day.
"Hoagie Day is an annual Wawa tradition that all of us look forward to with great anticipation, and while this year may be a little different, we can't wait to celebrate and expand on this event in new and exciting ways," said Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens. "This year, we couldn't be more excited to recognize our local heroes, help fight hunger, and celebrate our tradition of giving back and bringing customers together through digital formats. As we enter our 11th year as title sponsor for Wawa Welcome America and our 28th year celebrating Hoagie Day, we are honored to help bring this one-of-a-kind celebration into all of our customers' communities."
The annual Hoagie Day supports Wawa's longstanding partnership with the USO. This year, from July 1 through July 19, Wawa customers can donate to The Wawa Foundation at any store to benefit USO programs and services in support of military personnel and their families. Starting on Hoagie Day, The Wawa Foundation is matching all donations made to the in-store campaign up to $50,000.
In addition, hundreds of hoagies were distributed by the USO to military bases throughout Wawa's service area on Hoagie Day. Service men and women and their families received them through drive-by donation pick-up locations on the bases.
Hoagie Day also continued Wawa's tradition of supporting those in need by distributing thousands of hoagies and meals to Philabundance, Police Athletic League (PAL) and Veteran's Multi Service Center (VMC). This year, Wawa provided more than 4,500 bagged lunches and hoagies to Philabundance; more than 1,000 lunches for distribution to local PAL of Philadelphia Centers; and more than 500 meals to VMC.
The inaugural Hoagie Day was held in 1992, when the hoagie was proclaimed the "Official Sandwich of Philadelphia" by then-Mayor Ed Rendell.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates 900 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.