Wreaths Across America (WAA), a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, announced that Jersey Mike’s has donated $218,282 to support its mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach our children the value of freedom.
From June 30–July 29, Jersey Mike’s celebrated its third annual “Christmas in July” with a nationwide fundraising and awareness campaign to benefit WAA.
Every Jersey Mike’s location participated in the campaign, collecting donations from friends, family, customers, and community members. Customers helped raise approximately $100,000, which Jersey Mike’s matched.
In addition, the company donated $1 for every “like” its fundraising efforts inspired on Facebook to raise an additional $18,282.
The money raised will help WAA lay more than 225,000 wreaths—one for every fallen hero’s headstone—at Arlington National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day, scheduled for Saturday, December 15, 2012.
Along with recognizing the sacrifices of the past and present, WAA counts educating children as one of the chief missions of its campaign. Each year many students make the annual trip to Arlington National Cemetery to participate in the wreath-laying ceremonies.
“We can’t thank Jersey Mike’s enough for this remarkable donation and for its continued support of our mission,” says Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. “We are committed to teaching our nation’s children about the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom. It’s our belief that they make the connection in a significant way when they place a wreath on the headstone of someone who gave his or her life for us.”
Last year, with the help of its customers, Jersey Mike’s raised $100,000, which helped WAA place 90,000 wreaths at Arlington on National Wreaths Across America Day.
“A big ‘thank you’ to our customers and employees who helped us exceed our goal of raising $200,000 for Wreaths Across America during this year’s Christmas in July initiative,” says Peter Cancro, Jersey Mike’s founder and CEO.
“In addition to honoring the memory of the fallen, our youth need to understand the value of freedom in this country and that is part of Wreaths Across America’s mission that really strikes a chord with me,” he adds. “We’re proud to be playing a part in making that happen because at Jersey Mike’s, our mission is to ‘make a difference in someone’s life.’ It’s something we’ve prided ourselves on since the beginning of the company in 1956.”
In past years, Cancro and other Jersey Mike’s executives have participated in the day’s ceremonies, and franchise owners from across the nation have attended.
The events begin with a weeklong annual pilgrimage from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery to deliver the wreaths.
Known as the world’s largest veterans parade, the Wreaths Across America convoy stops at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes, and communities each year. The goal is to remind people of the organization’s mission to teach younger generations about the value of their freedom and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed their lives to protect those freedoms.
During the month-long Christmas in July promotion, Jersey Mike’s showed a video in all its restaurants of a special concert organized by Jersey Mike’s to raise awareness for Wreaths Across America.
Held in June aboard the historic Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey, the concert featured performances by country singer Corey Wagar, Broadway star Mary D’Arcy, the Liberty Bells, and the 63rd Army Band. Holiday Express, a group of professional musician volunteers, also performed. This 10-minute video included a personal appeal from Cancro asking customers to support the cause.