Sub sandwiches make difference

Posing for Jersey Mike’s giving campaign are (from left): Jaclyn Torrento, Miss Chattanooga 2014; Dan McDonald, owner of the Jersey Mike’s on Elliston Place; and Hayley Lewis, Miss Tennessee 2014.

The cups at Jersey Mike’s Subs spell out a core philosophy of the sandwich shop company. “Giving—making a difference in someone’s life,” they say.

In the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky region, 25 Jersey Mike’s stores have joined together to support the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals organization.

Dan McDonald owns three of the stores and was one of four owners who discovered that they shared a personal connection to Children’s Hospital—through family experiences with the neonatal intensive care unit—and decided to partner with it.

“The role that Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt plays, not only in the Nashville, Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky communities, but also in the country, is striking,” McDonald says.

For the past three years, the local Jersey Mike’s Subs stores have participated in a national “Month of Giving” during March. They collect money for Children’s Hospital all month, and on the last Wednesday of the month, they donate 100 percent of all sales from that day.

“We’re just sandwich shop owners,” McDonald says. “We’re small business owners who decided to make a difference in our community—not only to raise money, but to reward our customers and let them know that their purchases are making a difference in our community.”

They exceeded their five-year fundraising goal of $100,000 in 13 months and have raised more than $50,000 per year for the past three years to support the patients and families who rely on Children’s Hospital for specialized care.

“I’m very, very excited about our relationship with Children’s Hospital,” McDonald says. “It creates a connection. We feel good about being part of the community. I think our customers feel good about patronizing us. And at the end of the day, we’ve contributed to a very worthwhile cause.”

“When we talk about giving, we really look at it as ‘we give to give,’” says Caroline Cancro, Charitable Giving Coordinator for Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “It’s something we’ve always done, going back to the very beginning of the business. Jersey Mike’s is ‘A Sub Above,’ and giving is really built into our culture.”

– by Leigh MacMillan