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February 04, 2021

Wawa, Sheetz team up for virtual benefit helping Special Olympics Pennsylvania

With the Polar Pop challenge, participants break balloons filled with cold water above their heads to rally support for children, adults with intellectual disabilities

Charity Special Olympics
Wawa Sheetz Pop @Wawa/Facebook

Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens and Sheetz CEO Joe Sheetz took the Polar Pop – bursting water balloons over their heads – in support of Special Olympics Pennsylvania. You can do the same by making a donation and sharing a video or photo of your Pop.

Most of the time, Wawa and Sheetz are healthy rivals in the hearts and minds of Pennsylvanians.

This winter, the two convenience store chains are joining forces to raise money for Special Olympics Pennsylvania. And they're asking for your help — if you're willing to freeze a little bit.

The companies have each donated $5,000 to the organization, which supports athletic training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania has a history of Polar Plunge fundraisers involving leaps into freezing water to benefit the children and adults the organization serves.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge has been slightly modified. It's now a "Burrr-tual" Polar Pop challenge, that asks participants to pop water balloons filled with cold water over their heads.

Every pop will support sports training and competition for Special Olympics athletes, enabling them to achieve their goals, live healthier lives, and experience respect and inclusion, the the convenience store companies executives said.

"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. "We invite our customers to have some fun supporting an organization that is making a significant impact in our community."

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 5 friends to make a donation and complete the Polar Pop challenge

To kick things off, Gheysens, fellow CEO Joe Sheetz and several Wawa and Sheetz employees took the plunge in the parking lots of their respective stores

"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," Sheetz, added. "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!"