Thank you, Wawa, for your support in the fight to End Hunger!
We hope everyone had a safe and happy Independence Day weekend celebrating with family and friends! If you were in Philly during last week’s Wawa Welcome America celebration, you know our city was full of exciting events for everyone, from Wawa Hoagie Day to free museum passes, and of course, the grand finale featuring live music, a parade, and world-class fireworks display.
The Philabundance team had a great time during Hoagie Day at the National Constitution Center, and we are truly grateful for Wawa’s donation of 7,000 Shorti hoagies which we quickly distributed to our Community Partners.
“With the funding that Wawa gives us, we’re able to make sure kids have access to food over the summer. We know that far too many of our neighbors are food insecure, especially our children,” expressed Philabundance CEO Loree Jones Brown. “On behalf of Philabundance and the thousands of people we serve, we’re offering our heartfelt thank you.”
Derrick Gallashaw, Program Director of our Community Partner, Mighty Writers Camden, offered his appreciation.
“We have families coming out taking food back to their kids who may not have started summer programs yet,” said Derrick. “We have a lot of parents saying, ‘This is going to be my dinner today, our lunch for the day, so that impact is beyond what anybody could imagine.’”
Derrick, as well as many other community members across the region, felt the true spirit of Philadelphia pride, including our own Philadelphia Eagles superstar center, Jason Kelce. He took a break from another fundraiser at the Jersey Shore and joined the crowd via Zoom to cheer on the festivities.
“This is what Philadelphia is all about, being around each other and doing things that support one another and that’s saying something about the City of Brotherly Love,” Kelce said. “I think that’s a great gift.”
In all, Wawa employees built an astonishing 25,000 Shorti Hoagies weighing 7-tons! In addition to our donation, they also provided sandwiches to the Veteran’s Multi-Service Center and Police Athletic League centers. The remaining 15,000 were given out to visitors, much to their delight.
The 2023 celebration marked the 31st Hoagie Day since the inaugural event in 1992 when the hoagie was proclaimed the “Official Sandwich of Philadelphia” by then-Mayor Ed Rendell. As always, Hoagie Day focused on honoring our military service members and celebrating Wawa’s partnership with the USO, a nonprofit organization that strengthens America’s military service members by connecting them to family, home, and country throughout their service to the nation.
“Hoagie Day is always a special day for us at Wawa, and we are thrilled to once again host this celebration of service in the heart of America’s birthplace, our hometown city of Philadelphia,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa CEO. “This is our 14th year as the title sponsor of Wawa Welcome America, and it’s always incredible to think about what Hoagie Day represents. While it’s certainly about building, serving, and donating our delicious hoagies, more than anything it’s about uniting our community, spreading positivity, and saluting those who serve our local and national communities in the days leading up to our nation’s birthday.”
We were thrilled with the vast local and national media coverage, hitting all the local tv networks, as well as broadcast, print, and online around the country. Here’s a look at our in-house highlight video.