Sheetz, Wawa Unite to Support Special Olympics

The two chains invite Pennsylvanians to take the polar plunge virtually to raise money.

February 05, 2021

ALTOONA, Pa.—In honor of Special Olympic Pennsylvania’s February “Burrr-tual” (Virtual) Polar Pop, Sheetz and Wawa teamed up to support an organization near and dear to both convenience retailers by donating $5,000 each in support of the organization’s mission and impact in their hometown state.

Additionally, in a show of unification, Sheetz CEO Joe Sheetz and Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens took the Polar Pop together, along with store associates, and shared the cold water challenge on social media using #PAPolarPop and #FreezinForAReason. See the video here.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Polar Plunges celebrate the brave souls who jump into frigid water in support of individuals with intellectual disabilities. But this year, instead of plunging into icy cold water, participants will pop a cold water balloon over their heads. Every “Pop” will support continued sports training and competition for Special Olympics athletes, enabling them to achieve their goals, live healthier lives and experience respect and inclusion.

“Now more than ever, it is critical we continue to support Special Olympics Pennsylvania, who trains, inspires and transforms the lives of nearly 20,000 athletes every year,” said Joe Sheetz, CEO of Sheetz, in a press release. “Now having recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, that’s countless lives that have been impacted by them. Join us and take the virtual Polar Pop today!”

“As a longstanding partner of Special Olympics PA, we are honored to continue our support of local athletes at a time when it’s needed most,” said Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa, in a press release. “We invite our customers to have some fun supporting an organization that is making a significant impact in our community.”

The Polar Pop is an online event giving supporters the opportunity to take the “plunge” virtually and safely from home. Participants can take the plunge in three easy steps:

1. Pledge now: Register as a “Burrr-tual” (Virtual) Plunger, make a $20 donation to support Special Olympics Pennsylvania and commit to raise $50 at

2. Pop: Fill your water balloon with cold water, find a good spot to take a picture or video and pop it!

3. Promote: Now that you’re #FreezinForAReason, share your pop picture or video on social media, challenging five friends to make a donation and complete the Polar Pop challenge.

One other area where Sheetz and Wawa have collaborated: the NACS Lessons in Leadership learning series. Travis Sheetz, president and COO of Sheetz; and Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa; as well as Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Alimentation Couche-Tard, and other leaders, all gave exclusive interviews to NACS.  Watch their Lessons in Leadership today.