The NACS Foundation and the convenience retailing industry are celebrating first responders and others who support communities 24/7 on July 24 in the inaugural 24/7 Day.

The annual event was created to honor first responders, fire and police, EMT, doctors and nurses, military and disaster relief volunteers who work around the clock to support communities when disasters happen. The event is being launched by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) Foundation, along with participating convenience industry partners in support of the American Red Cross.

RaceTrac, Sheetz and Wawa are among the convenience retailers celebrating local heroes, inspiring volunteerism and raising awareness for first response and disaster relief efforts. RaceTrac and Sheetz recognize first responders year-round and on July 24, their store locations will recognize paramedics, EMTs, police officers and firefighters in uniform with a free small cup of coffee or small fountain drink as their way of saying thanks. Wawa will express appreciation to Red Cross volunteers with a special lunch, followed by Wawa and The Wawa Foundation announcing the results of its annual customer donation campaign in support of the Red Cross with a formal check presentation. As part of the announcement, The Wawa Foundation will present a direct financial grant to the American Red Cross to support its national disaster relief efforts, along with a program grant to support the Red Cross Sound the Alarm initiative in Richmond, Baltimore & Washington, D.C.

The NACS Foundation invites the convenience industry and the public to take part in 24/7 Day by:

  • Donating to support the American Red Cross’ work in communities around the country;
  • Learning more about disaster response, relief and preparedness in your community and the American Red Cross’ work year-round;
  • Sharing stories and appreciation for heroes and first responders in local communities across the United States on social media using the hashtag #WeHeartHeroes

In June 2017, NACS became the first retail-focused association to partner with the American Red Cross, which enables both organizations to develop resources that facilitate donation collection by convenience store companies, as well as encourage volunteer assistance programs for Red Cross volunteers around specific local or national events. NACS retailer and supplier members were credited with donating more than $34 million in disaster relief to the Red Cross in the weeks immediately after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in late 2017.

Disasters affect local communities across America, and convenience stores are closer to communities they serve than any other retail channel:

  • One in 12 Americans were affected by a natural disaster in 2017, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Source: FEMA)
  • 93% of Americans say they are within 10 minutes of a convenience store, including 86% of rural Americans. (Source: NACS)
  • The Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters around the country each year, from large-scale natural disasters to devasting home fires (Source: Red Cross)

“American Red Cross volunteers help communities across the country prepare, respond and recover from disasters, every day and hour,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics at the American Red Cross. “We hope everyone can join us, along with the NACS Foundation, on 24/7 Day to support this work and thank our first responders and local heroes.”

“Convenience is all about being there when we’re needed most. Disasters affect every one of the communities the convenience industry serves 24/7 and, in times of need, are often the only ones that remain open in a crisis for water, food, fuel and ATMs,” said Stephanie Sikorski, director of the NACS Foundation. “That’s why the NACS Foundation is proud to partner with our convenience and fuel retail partners to support American Red Cross disaster response, relief and preparedness and the volunteers and first responders who support our communities.”

Last year, convenience and fuel retailers contributed and collected more than $1 billion to charitable causes.

Sikorski said that the NACS Foundation would like to thank Sheetz for supporting 24/7 Day as a Community Leader Sponsor, with a generous donation to the NACS Foundation and the Red Cross.