After traveling 8,000 miles across 21 cities in five states and handing out more than 50,000 hot dogs, Wienerschnitzel, the world’s largest hot dog chain, announced that it has matched the $100,000 in donations raised during the inaugural Hot Dogs for Homeless Tour. Funds raised will benefit tour partner, Skate For Change, a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging youth to give back to the less fortunate in their communities.
Throughout the month of April, a Wienerschnitzel-wrapped RV, aptly named the “Wienerbago,” and the Hot Dogs for Homeless crew visited shelters and cities with heavy homeless populations to lift spirits and provide hot meals to those who needed it most. At each destination, the team served Wienerschnitzel hot dogs and provided socks, warm clothes, hygiene kits, and other necessities.
“I started this journey with Skate for Change with a simple measure of success in mind, and that was to feed as many homeless as possible while making a lasting, positive impression on anyone we came across,” says J.R. Galardi, Wienerschnitzel’s chief visionary officer. “I am overwhelmed by the amount of support we received and the number of lives we were able to touch in this short time. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions and a humbling experience that I will never forget.”
The tour also stopped at 20 high schools along the way, where youth motivational speaker and Founder of Skate For Change, Mike Smith, addressed close to 50,000 students about creating a positive change in their communities. At each school, student leaders and volunteers helped the crew serve up hot dogs and encourage donations amongst their peers. Many students also joined the team after-school at shelters to hand out hot dogs and socks to the homeless.
“I am beyond grateful that Wienerschnitzel was inspired by Skate For Change’s mission and chose to partner with us for this philanthropic journey,” Smith says. “This success of this tour exceeded all of our expectations and the funds raised, along with Wienerschnitzel’s $100,000 matching contribution, will provide much-needed supplies to those living on the streets for years to come.”
Galardi adds, “The enthusiasm and selflessness we saw from the students and volunteers was inspiring, and together, we put a smile on the faces of those who needed it most. I’m looking forward to getting the team back together next year to do even bigger and better things.”
To celebrate the success of the tour, several Hot Dogs for Homeless crewmembers, including Mike Smith, J.R. Galardi, Skate For Change president, Josh Schmitz, and action sports personality, The Dingo, got hot dog tattoos. Pro skateboarder, Ryan Sheckler, who has been a longtime supporter of Skate For Change, also joined in the celebration getting a hot dog tattoo of his own.