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ORLANDO, Fla. -- In honor of Wawa Inc. winning Convenience Store News' 2013 Foodservice Innovator of the Year award, Tyson Foods Inc. made a 30,000-pound donation today to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida on Wawa's behalf.
The donation was announced this morning during the grand opening of Wawa's newest Orlando store, located at 8574 South Orange Blossom Trail. On hand for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting were: Wawa executives; CSNews Senior Editor Melissa Kress; Tyson Foods Senior Brand Manager Kevin Miller; Second Harvest Food Bank President and CEO Dave Krepcho; local officials; the Orlando police and fire departments; store associates; and Wawa's mascot, Wally Goose.
"We're excited that we could be a part of this great event," said Miller of Tyson. "Wawa and Tyson Foods have a common interest to make a difference in our communities. Alongside Wawa, it's our hope that we can raise awareness about the seriousness of hunger that impacts every community, big and small."
Wawa's Chief Marking Officer Carol Jensen led today's grand-opening event, giving thanks to everyone in the Orlando community for their ongoing support.
"We are thrilled to continue to expand our presence in the Orlando community and cannot think of a better occasion to receive such a prestigious industry award," said Jensen. "We're honored to be named as the Foodservice Innovator of the Year, but we never could have achieved that recognition without the continued support of our customers, community partners and associates – particularly in our newest Wawaland in the Sunshine State. Thank you does not begin to express how grateful we are; we hope that this donation can serve as a small symbol of our thanks."
The CSNews Foodservice Innovators Awards, sponsored by Tyson Foods, recognize convenience retail leaders that are raising the bar on quality, service and innovation in the fast-growing and critically important category of foodservice.
Following the Foodservice Innovator of the Year award and donation presentation, Wawa associates and executives helped load the Second Harvest Food Bank truck in order to begin immediate distribution in time for the holiday season.
"At the top of the list of needed food items for a food bank organization, you will always find protein," said Krepcho of Second Harvest Food Bank. "To be able to access an entire truckload of nutritious protein from partners like Tyson Foods and Wawa is an incredible boost for kids, seniors, and families who are struggling out there."
Both Wawa and Tyson Foods have been active participants in the fight against hunger for more than a decade. Tyson Foods has donated more than 94 million pounds of protein since 2000 and Wawa has donated more than $50,000 to hunger relief efforts in Florida since its launch in the state in July 2012. Between now and Dec. 22, Wawa's annual Check Out Hunger in-store collection campaign continues in all Florida stores, providing customers the opportunity to contribute $1, $3 and $5 at the point-of-sale to benefit Second Harvest and Feeding America Tampa Bay.
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.
To view all of the 2013 CSNews Foodservice Innovators Awards Winners, along with video and commentary, visit www.stagnitodigitalmedia.com/innovators.