Wawa, the cult-favorite store that sprang out of the Philadelphia area and has now grown to six states and Washington, D.C., is planning to celebrate Independence Day by giving back.
The chain is expanding long-running Wawa Hoagie Day on Wednesday to all of its stores to honor local heroes and help those in need.
Every one of Wawa's hundreds of locations will pitch in to build 50 hoagies each that will head to local "Hoagie Heroes": first responders, veterans' organizations, USO centers, health care workers and food banks.
Hoagie Day is a long-running tradition leading up to the 4th of July in Philadelphia, where Wawa is the signature sponsor of the city's Wawa Welcome America festival. One of the events is building and serving a huge hoagie on Independence Mall -- which draws a huge, hoagie-hungry crowd.
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Due to health concerns, the entire festival is virtual this year, and the mega-hoagies instead will be built in one store in each of Wawa's six states. Wawa plans to release a video of all the mega-hoagie builds.
“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 said. “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."
Wawa is also teaming up with the USO's Campaign to Connect to help send 2 million messages of support to U.S. troops. The company raised nearly $1 million for the USO last year. The Wawa Foundation will match in-store donations up to $50,000 through July 19, with the money going to the USO.
About those hoagies ... so what does it take for 3,000 Wawa workers to build 45,000 Shorti hoagies weighing in at 13 tons around the country? Wawa breaks down the ingredients (in pounds):
- Shorti Rolls - 5,096
- Oven Roasted Turkey - 5,356
- Italian Meats - 5,171
- Provolone Cheese - 3,067
- Iceberg Lettuce - 2,718
- Tomatoes - 3,275
- Onions - 900
- Oil - 960
- Oregano - 36