Ordinary people are doing extraordinary things across the country. That’s evident from the number of nominations—2,600—received to earn one of five Jersey Mike’s Sub Abover Grants.
Jersey Mike’s presented the five $5,000 grants to those making a difference in their local communities. The grants are designed to help the winners make an even bigger impact.
“It’s inspiring to read the stories of so many who are making a difference in someone’s life,” said Rich Hope, Chief Marketing Officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “That’s been a guiding principle of Jersey Mike’s since our Founder Peter Cancro bought his first sub shop at the age of 17, and we’re happy to recognize these five individuals fulfilling that vision.”
The 2018 Sub Abover Grants were awarded to:
Lara Lopez, Kids Kupboard Ministry, Lantana, Texas. What started in 2011 as a project to provide 25 bags of non-perishable food items to students in need at one elementary school to take home for the weekend has now expanded to 122 bags per week at four schools. The grant will go to buy nearly a year’s worth of food. “You can make a big difference in your own community,” says Lopez. “Don’t try to change the world…just one piece of it.”
Mariah Smith, Blankets for the Homeless, Virginia Beach, Va. Smith founded Blankets for the Homeless when she was 17 after seeing a homeless man near her house. Today, Blankets for the Homeless has distributed more than 200,000 blankets and lunches and other needed items to people living on the streets and homeless families living in hotels, and in their cars. Now a 24-year-old senior at Regent University, Smith said her early circumstances motivate her to give back. She was born and abandoned on Christmas Eve. When she was two, her foster mother adopted her. “When I was born, I was homeless too,” Smith said. “I’m so fortunate that I have amazing parents who provide so much love and security after my future was so uncertain.”
Rody Thompson, PeaceJam Southeast Director, Center for Leadership and Social Change at Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, Fla. Thompson created the Southeast region of PeaceJam, an international education program built around Nobel Peace Prize Laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. “PeaceJam impacts lives in huge ways and teaches participants that they are agents for change in the world,” she said. In June, Thompson is leaving FSU after 10 years, and will put her grant toward creating PeaceJam Mid-Atlantic.
Jeff VanAutreve, Second Story Teen Center, Princeton, Ill. VanAutreve and his wife Dana founded Second Story in 2009 after their community began to see a rise in teen suicides. They turned the second story of their flooring shop into a space where teens could hang out. The results were significant – they began to see a positive impact in their community and in the lives of the hundreds of teens they began to serve in their program. “I grew up in a harsh family environment and, in third grade, someone took a chance on me,” said VanAutreve. “It stuck in my mind: If I could give back, I wanted to do that.”
Jim and Terri Wasley, Meg’s Smile Foundation, Holly Springs, N.C. The Wasleys lost their 8-year-old daughter Meg to brain cancer in 2011. They channeled their grief into creating Meg's Smile, a non-profit organization that provides special days or gifts for seriously ill children in North Carolina. Last year, the all-volunteer organization presented 53 Smiles. “No way is too small to make a difference—even volunteering one hour a month,” says Jim Wasley. “There are so many ways to give back – you don’t need to have a foundation.”
“Giving … making a difference in someone’s life” has been the mission of Jersey Mike’s from the beginning. It started with Jersey Mike’s Founder Peter Cancro who shares the importance of giving back and inspires the rest of the company. Jersey Mike’s named the Sub Abover grants to reinforce its goal to: Help nourish. Help flourish. Be a sub above.
This March is Jersey Mike’s 8th Annual Month of Giving fundraising initiative, when more than 1,360 Jersey Mike’s locations across the country are joining forces with more than 170 local charities. Last year’s Month of Giving raised more than $5.5 million for local charities nationwide, and this year Jersey Mike’s wants to break last year’s record-setting total.
The campaign culminates in the nationwide event, Day of Giving, on Wednesday, March 28, when local Jersey Mike’s owners and operators will donate their resources and every single dollar that comes in to local charities. For more information on participating restaurants and charity partners, please visit http://www.jerseymmikes.com/mog/charities
Since 2010, Jersey Mike’s locations throughout the country have raised nearly $28 million for worthy local charities and have distributed more than 2 million free sub sandwiches to help numerous causes.
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