Honoring Hometown Heroes: 24/7 Day

Convenience stores are the unspoken first supporters of first responders.

July 03, 2024

For the NACS Magazine column "The Big Question," NACS spoke with Stephanie Sikorski, executive director of the NACS Foundation and NACS vice president of marketing.

How does 24/7 Day benefit our communities—and our industry?

The NACS Foundation’s 24/7 Day initiative began six years ago. We walked through different ways that we can better support each other as an industry and what we could do better for the communities we serve. We knew that historically, it has been written in the news that nothing good happens after ‘zero dark thirty.’

Instead of chasing down and reacting to those headlines, we decided to lean into them. What if we took it upon ourselves to help change that narrative for our industry?

We all know that first responders work around the clock. You’ve got police, firefighters, medical personnel, 911 dispatchers and emergency professionals and more. When Covid happened, we talked about the doctors, nurses and paramedics, and how at two o’clock in the morning, convenience stores might be the only place that’s open for them as they either start their shift or end it.

Natural disasters—and disasters, period—happen all across the United States. A lot of the time, our stores are the first place people go to when coming back to a community or the last place people stop to fill up, hit the ATM or grab a bottle of water as they’re leaving harm’s way. In fact, many times convenience stores are the only places that are open.

So, 24/7 Day leans into the idea that convenience stores are the unspoken first supporters of first responders. That’s a pretty powerful story to tell and we wanted to share it loudly.

Participation can be as small as promoting a cup of coffee that you’re already giving to first responders. It could be a check donation to the American Red Cross, or other hyper-local response relief charity. It could be a hot food offer. It might be giving lunches to a local fire station. Saying thanks can come in a lot of different formats.

To continue reading, check out the July 2024 issue of NACS Magazine. And for more information on 24/7 Day, listen to the Convenience Matters podcast episode, “Join the Industry’s Biggest Celebration of Heroes.”