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ORLANDO, Fla. -- During this season of giving, helping those less fortunate in the community is at the forefront of everyone's minds. For Wawa Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc., though, lending a helping hand is a 365-day-a-year mission.
To demonstrate their mutual commitment to the communities they serve, Tyson donated 30,000 pounds of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida on Wawa's behalf. The move, made in recognition of Wawa winning Convenience Store News' 2013 Foodservice Innovator of the Year award, occurred at the grand opening of the retailer's newest convenience store in Orlando.
"We are delighted to get to be a part of this special event today. While this donation is, in part, to recognize Wawa as the Convenience Store News Foodservice Innovator of the Year, its primary goal is to support the communities we can in a very important way," said Kevin Miller, senior brand manager, Tyson Convenience Foodservice at Tyson Foods Inc. "At Tyson Foods, our purpose statement is 'Making Great Food. Making a Difference.' and there are fewer areas that we can make more of a difference than in helping meet the challenges of food insecurity in our communities. This has long been a part of our company's mission through our KNOW Hunger campaign -- spelled K-N-O-W but the emphasis on N-O -- where we have donated over 94 million pounds of protein since the year 2000."
The newest Wawa, located at 8574 South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, marks the 50th Wawa convenience store to open this year and the 33rd in Florida, according to Carol Jensen, chief marketing officer at Wawa Inc.
Following in the footsteps of all the Wawa stores before it, this location is committed to working with the community.
Since opening its first Wawa store in Florida in July 2012, the Pennsylvania-based retailer has donated more than $50,000 to hunger relief efforts, Jensen said. In addition, the retailer's annual Check Out Hunger in-store collection campaign is in full swing for the second year in Florida.
"Being a part of the community is a big part of who we are," she said. "It's about doing the right thing and doing things right."
Several associates with Second Harvest were on hand at Tuesday's event to help Wawa associates and Tyson representatives transfer the food donation from Tyson's truck to the food bank truck.
"While donations such as today's help fill an immediate need, we hope this helps bring awareness to the seriousness of the overall need, and brings lasting benefits to the community in the future as well," Tyson's Miller said. "We know the work of Second Harvest Food Bank will continue to provide a tremendous amount of help and support to the entire Central Florida area."
Greg Higgerson, vice president of development at Second Harvest Food Bank, thanked both companies for their efforts in helping fight hunger and said the food bank looks forward to working with Wawa and Tyson for many years to come.
"Here in Central Florida, we have a very generous community and very affluent communities in a lot of ways, but just below that level are people in need," Higgerson said.
Tyson Foods, headquartered in Springdale, Ark., is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork. The company provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and approximately 130 countries.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates more than 635 convenience retail stores (more than 365 offering gasoline), in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Central Florida.