Volunteers are the heart of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s family-centered care. Now more volunteers are being deployed in new and innovative ways, thanks to a $5 million gift from the Wawa Foundation expanding Wawa Volunteer Services.

Wawa Volunteer Services consists of a team of helpful people throughout the Hospital — at bedsides, in playrooms and more — who elevate the CHOP experience and make it run more smoothly for patients and families. Most visible are the hospitality volunteers who greet and escort families, get needed resources to staff members, find activities for children waiting for appointments and generally spread goodwill.

volunteers with Wawa cartStocked with complimentary hot and cold Wawa beverages for parents and visitors, the Wawa Coffee & Care Cart is a welcome sight in the Hospital’s corridors. The cart is staffed by Wawa employee volunteers, CHOP staff members and members of affiliated organizations. Glen Valdata, a father of a patient who had been in the Hospital for a month, voices the appreciation that countless family members have felt when they spotted the cart. “We live near a Wawa,” he says. “It’s nice to have something that feels close to home.”

Under the leadership of the Wood family, Wawa has partnered with CHOP to provide hope and comfort to patients and families across the entire CHOP community for nearly 70 years. Wawa has raised more than $3 million to support Child Life programs, established the Wawa Endowed Chair in International Adoption, gave charitable grants to fund HIV/AIDS programs at CHOP, and donated products vital to the Hospital’s clinical programs.

“Our vision for the Wawa Foundation is about connecting with communities on a deeper level,” says Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens. “Supporting the mission of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is part of our history, and we are delighted to extend that support to include an innovative volunteer program that reflects our purpose and enables us to serve others in such a meaningful way. This is a proud moment for the Wawa Foundation and everyone at Wawa.”

In 2015, approximately 500 volunteers delivered more than 30,000 hours of service in the Hospital. The $5 million philanthropic gift is being used to double the number of volunteers, establish “bellhops” to assist discharged families with their accumulated possessions, add volunteers at CHOP Care Network locations such as the Specialty Care and Surgery Center in King of Prussia, multiply the number of Wawa Coffee & Care Carts, and construct a Wawa Volunteer Center.