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EL DORADO, Ark., and WAWA, Pa. – Competitors in the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games are receiving support from the convenience store industry. Both Murphy USA Inc. and Wawa Inc. are financially supporting athletes' transportation, lodging and other expenses, according to media reports.
Murphy USA flew five south Arkansas residents on its private plane to Princeton, N.J., for the weeklong competition and is paying for all their accommodations. Multiple Murphy USA employees, family and friends saw them off on June 14.
Additionally, Wawa presented 203 athletes and 70 coaches and staff with $311,224.50 last week at a send-off event held at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and hosted by Special Olympics Pennsylvania.
"Special Olympics Pennsylvania is just so grateful to Wawa for stepping up to support Team Pennsylvania in such a significant way," Eric Cushing, vice president of marketing and development for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, told the Delaware County Daily Times. "They've supported us more than just financially. We're just thrilled to have them as part of Team Pennsylvania."
Wawa raised the money during two separate four- to six-week campaigns in the past year. In July and January, Wawa collected change from customers and held a scanning campaign that allowed them to add $1 or more in donations when paying for their purchases.
Beneficiaries of such campaigns are chosen by Wawa employees, according to Public Relations Manager Lori Bruce. "Our associates really lead us to the causes they are passionate about," she said. "We couldn't be more proud to rally around and support these courageous men and women. We believe the athletes and those that support them are truly heroes."
The Special Olympics are taking place June 14-21 at Princeton University and other local schools.