WAWA, Pa. — Wawa Inc. will celebrate its 55th anniversary and the fifth anniversary of The Wawa Foundation with the theme of high-fives for fulfilling lives.
In recognition of the milestone, Wawa will offer customers free coffee in any size, chain-wide, all day on April 11, Wawa Day.
The convenience store retailer expects to give away more than 2 million free cups of coffee at its 840-plus stores.
Wawa opened its first c-store in Folsom, Pa., in 1964. On its 50th anniversary in 2014, it launched The Wawa Foundation, a 501c (3) non-profit organization founded to encompass most of Wawa's charitable giving, and has since donated more than $66 million in support to causes related to health, hunger and everyday heroes.
For this year's Wawa Day, Wawa is announcing three contributions of $1 million each to three of its national partners and five big reasons to celebrate:
- Health – The Wawa Foundation will contribute $1 million to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to support LLS's new Children's Initiative, a clinical trial program aimed at delivering precision medicine therapy to children with cancer and funding research for a cure. The Wawa Foundation will be a founding partner of the initiative.
- Hunger – The Wawa Foundation will contribute $1 million to Check Out Hunger to support 23 Feeding America Food Banks operating in Wawa's markets. Proceeds to both Check Out Hunger and Special Olympics come from The Wawa Foundation's in-store customer donation campaign, and both campaigns recently surpassed $1 million, marking the first time the in-store campaigns have achieved this milestone.
- Everyday Heroes – The Wawa Foundation will contribute $1 million to Special Olympics to support programs for thousands of athletes involved with Special Olympics in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C.
- Growth – Wawa will celebrate a historic year in 2019 as it opens 63 new stores throughout the year across all six states and Washington, D.C, the company said. This includes entry into new markets for Wawa in Miami and Ocala, Fla., this spring.
- New Innovations – Wawa plans to continue pushing the boundaries of customer access by meeting them where they live and on their terms. This will include new store-level catering menus and packaging,which will be available the first week of May, and the addition of new delivery territories and enhanced technology throughout the year designed to make the customer experience more convenient.
As part of Wawa Day, the retailer will also celebrate its employees with in-store digital tributes featuring photos of many "Day Brighteners" who embody the spirit of community service and volunteering. This is also part of Wawa's celebration of National Volunteer Week, as many Wawa employees go out into their communities to make a difference in the lives of the people Wawa serves, according to the company.
"Wawa Day gives us a wonderful opportunity to step back and thank the millions of customers we've served over the past 55 years, who have made us an integral part of the communities we serve," said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president and CEO. "This year's Wawa Day is particularly special because we are also celebrating that, in just over five years, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation have already surpassed our initial giving goal and continue to support more organizations and communities across our operating area. We could have never achieved this level of support for such meaningful partners alone, and thank all of our customers who gave generously to our in-store campaigns and make everything we do possible. Happy Wawa Day, everyone, and cheers to 55 years of fulfilling lives."
Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates more than 840 convenience stores, including 600-plus with gas, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C.