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WAWA, Pa. and KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Wawa Inc. and Pilot Flying J are honoring U.S. military veterans and their families on Veterans Day with free coffee and charitable donations.
All Wawa stores will offer free coffee in any size to veterans, active military members and their families all day on Tuesday, Nov. 11. The convenience store chain expects to hand out more than 200,000 free cups of coffee in thanks for their service.
"Veterans Day gives us all a chance to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country so bravely and this year, thanks to the efforts and suggestions of our associates, we're excited to recognize our veterans in new and meaningful ways," stated Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens. "We're doing this through a massive care package assembly at Wawa University the day before Veterans Day, and on Veterans Day itself, free coffee giveaways in our stores. Since 2002, we've been providing troops abroad with a taste of home through our coffee care packages, and it's an honor to celebrate our veterans and their families in our stores with this free coffee offer."
Operation Taste of Home care packages are an annual tradition organized by Wawa associates and supported by the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, the retailer said. Together, they help send thousands of care packages to currently deployed military men and women.
Pilot Flying J, meanwhile, is contributing to veterans' care by donating 10 percent of its proceeds from coffee and hot beverage sales on Veterans Day to the Fisher House Foundation, which is best known for its network of comfort homes where military and veterans' families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment and specialized medical care. The comfort homes are located at major military and Veterans Affairs medical centers nationwide, near the hospital or medical center they serve.
Customers can contribute by purchasing any hot beverage — including coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate and hot tea — at any Pilot Travel Center or Flying J Travel Plaza across the company's North American network of 650-plus stores.
"It's a privilege to be able to give back to the men and women who have served our country," said Jim Haslam, Pilot Flying J founder and chairman. "As an Army veteran myself, I understand and appreciate the sacrifices these heroes have made. Pilot Flying J is proud to be able to support them and their families through this donation to the Fisher House Foundation."
Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program, which uses donated frequent flyer miles to bring family to the bedside of injured service members, and the Hotels for Heroes program, which uses donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. Additionally, the foundation manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and the children of fallen and disabled veterans.
"Everyone at Pilot Flying J thanks our veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice, and we are honored to celebrate Veterans Day by pledging this donation," Haslam said.