Wawa kicks off 'Welcome America' in Philly with tons of free hoagies

The 26th annual bonanza serves more than 20,000.

Tim Jimenez
June 28, 2018 - 8:04 am
The National Constitution Center plays host to a fleet of Wawa hoagie-makers

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia’s Welcome America celebration begins Thursday, and 7 tons of hoagie is on the menu. The sandwiches are free for the public starting at noon on Independence Mall. 

The lunchroom at the National Constitution Center was transformed into a deli, and hundreds of Wawa employees, like Melissa Williams, got to work.

“This is a lot of crazy chaos," Williams said. "It’s so much fun. We play, we dance, we sing, and we make thousands and thousands of sandwiches.”

To be exact: 27,000 shorti hoagies  Italian and turkey. 

“My role is doing all the condiments, lettuce and tomato and shove it down the end to be wrapped,” Williams said.

It can be intense, she said. “So, sometimes my partner can’t handle it but she’s just got to pick it up and go with it.”

The first thousand sandwiches were delivered to Veterans centers in the area. And five-thousand were donated to Philabundance. The rest are served to the public queued up on Independeince Mall. 

Stef Arck-Baynes with Philabundance says the donation comes at an important time. “When children have just gotten out of school," he said. "It’s important to raise awareness of hunger, because about 400,000 children in our service area lose their school meals.”