In-store events to honor Special Olympics athletes planned in 2018.
Wawa and The Wawa Foundation announced that in honor of the Special Olympics 50th anniversary, Wawa will provide the organization with additional layers of support and funding throughout 2018.
As a featured charity partner of The Wawa Foundation, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation will continue the annual tradition of hosting a chain-wide, in-store fundraising campaign for the Special Olympics featuring a point-of-sale scan campaign launching Jan. 22 in all Wawa stores, as well as supporting several Polar Plunge events through in-kind donations and help from Wawa volunteers.
In addition, for 2018 in honor of the Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary, Wawa will be hosting special in-store events celebrating Special Olympics athletes and The Wawa Foundation will make a grant of $200,000 to support the Special Olympics’ Unified Sports programs in high schools across Wawa’s operating area. Unified Sports is an inclusive sports program that unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition.
“All of us at Wawa are proud to support the inspiring athletes of the Special Olympics and honor the heroes who have and will continue to change the game,” said Jay Culotta, president of The Wawa Foundation. “We’ve been partnering with the Special Olympics for many years and it’s exciting to be a part of their year-long 50th anniversary celebration. Everyone can support these inspiring athletes by participating in our in-store campaign or by attending a Polar Plunge event in January or February. We are also thrilled to provide an additional financial grant and events to round out the year to show our support for the Unified Sports initiative, something we are passionate about.”
In-Store Fundraising Efforts & Polar Plunge Support
From Jan. 22 to Feb. 18, all Wawa stores chain-wide will offer opportunities for customers to support the Special Olympics through donation boxes near the register and also through donations where customers can add $1, $3 or $5 donations to their purchase at the point of sale.
Wawa will also be continuing its support of the Special Olympics’ annual Polar Plunges throughout January and February, which allow participants to take a quick dip in frigid waters to raise funds for Special Olympics in their respective state. At each event, more than 50 Wawa volunteers will attend to help serve coffee and food, to cheer on athletes and plungers, and to take the plunge themselves!
During the course of its longstanding partnership with the Special Olympics, Wawa has raised more than $6 million in funding for the Special Olympics, along with donating a significant number of volunteer hours and countless cups of coffee and hot chocolate at local Polar Plunges.
In addition to in-store fundraising efforts and Polar Plunge support, Wawa will host several local community events throughout the year, including special events during this year’s Wawa Day, Wawa’s annual celebration marking Wawa’s entrance into the conveniences store business. Held in the Spring each year, this year’s Wawa Day will celebrate the athletes participating in the Special Olympics Unified Sports programs.
In June 2018, Wawa will host special “send-off” events in all six states of Wawa’s operating area to show support of the athletes and teams leaving to compete in the 50th Anniversary Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle.
Special Olympics and Wawa’s History
A Wawa community partner for more than 20 years, starting with New Jersey Special Olympics and now spanning its entire operating area of six states and the District of Columbia, and now an official national charity partner since the formation of The Wawa Foundation in 2014, the Special Olympics’ mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The organization provides continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.