PHILADELPHIA, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) today announced the opening of the new Wawa Volunteer Center, funded by a $5 million philanthropic gift from The Wawa Foundation.
During the press conference, the hospital's existing volunteer program – which in 2015 saw 500 volunteers deliver more than 30,000 service hours – was officially re-named the Wawa Volunteer Program. The event featured opening remarks by CHOP and Wawa executives, as well as a grateful patient family. CHOP also awarded Steve Wenzel, a Wawa employee and 25-year hospital volunteer, its Outstanding Volunteer Award.
"Wawa's legacy of support for CHOP began 160 years ago, when, in 1856, a Wood family member was part of CHOP's original board of directors," said Madeline Bell, president and CEO of CHOP. "It's incredible to see the evolution of our relationship together. Since then, the company has raised more than $3 million to support programs in the Department of Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy; established the Wawa Endowed Chair in International Adoption; given charitable grants to fund programs related to the NICU and HIV/AIDS; and donated multiple products vital to our clinical programs. Today, we are thrilled to build our relationship with The Wawa Foundation and are extremely grateful for their generous gift to support our volunteers."
Community relationships have been at the heart of Wawa's purpose since its founding, from championing important causes, to in-store fundraising, to volunteering at community events. "Wawa's purpose has always been to go beyond filling customers' orders to fulfilling lives every day, and the Wawa Volunteer Program at CHOP is a perfect example of that," said Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa. "We truly believe that each of our associates, and now each of the Wawa volunteers at CHOP, plays a special role in improving the lives of the people in our region, and to be able to give back to children and families in this way is something we're excited to be a part of."
CHOP also dedicated a newly constructed, 1,500-square-foot Wawa Volunteer Center in its Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care, located on the hospital's Raymond G. Perelman Campus. Future plans made possible by The Wawa Foundation's $5 million gift include multiple Wawa Coffee & Care Carts; an expanded CHOP hospitality and wayfinding corps; additional volunteer programs at CHOP Care Network locations throughout the region; and more.
"The Wawa Volunteer Program at CHOP enables us to give back in a way that goes beyond a financial donation to one that also allows our associates to be a part of the program by volunteering," said Jay Culotta, president of The Wawa Foundation. "Our associates are a huge part of who we are at Wawa, and to see so many jump at the chance to give back to their community shows how much everyone at Wawa cares about helping our neighbors. And, supporting the mission of CHOP has always been part of the Wawa way, so we can't think of a better fit for our culture."
About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
About The Wawa Foundation
The Wawa Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded by Wawa, Inc. to support all of Wawa's charitable giving and philanthropic activities. Through the Wawa Foundation, Wawa will have the opportunity to create even more positive change and awareness for its community partners. To learn more about The Wawa Foundation, its areas of focus and its commitment to help build stronger, happier communities, please visit www.TheWawaFoundation.org.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia