The 18th annual Feed-A-Friend event collects food for hungry
By John Hummer
Their enthusiasm was contagious. Subway employees at the Napoleon Subway greeted customers with a smile last Thursday as nearly every one of them through the door donated food or made a cash donation for the company’s 18th Annual Feed-A-Friend event.
Subways throughout the area– in Jackson, Hillsdale, Brooklyn, Horton, Jonesville, and Napoleon – participated in the event to help feed those in need. Customers could buy any 6-inch sub and get a 6-inch sub free with a cash donation or a donation of any non-perishable food item. Seventy-three Subways in the Jackson-Lansing-Hillsdale market participated in all.
All donations stayed local to benefit nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry – the Brooklyn and Napoleon food pantries among them.
Napoleon volunteer firefighter Nate Michael stopped into the Napoleon Subway to donate several boxes of macaroni and cheese and take advantage of the sub special.
“I think it’s really great because there are a lot of families out there that can’t afford their meals as well as a lot of homeless people that could use this help,” he said. “It’s really great for the community.”
The Feed-A-Friend event was started by a woman named Charlotte Patton-Trumble who now works in the company’s Jackson office. She has been with Subway for 24 years.
Subway owner Bob Richardson, who owns 15 Subway stores throughout the area, said that 18 years ago when the program started, they talked about better ways to help people.
“[Charlotte] did some research with food pantries and they said this was the worst time of the year for them,” he said. “So, we started Feed-A-Friend and tied it in with a customer appreciation event,” Richardson added that all the food collected at a community’s Subway generally goes to its local food pantry.
Last year the company collected 81,000 pounds of food and set a goal to collect 100,000 pounds this year. Richardson was confident that the goal would be met.
Cash donations are a major part of the Feed-A-Friend program as well.
“Every dollar that gets donated equates to six meals through the food pantries,” he said.
Richardson said his 15 Subways have a friendly competition to see which store collects the most non-perishable goods and cash donations, as well as how many food units (subs, etc.) they sell throughout the day. The top two stores’ employees and their families are then treated to a Lansing Lugnuts baseball game.
“Everybody has a good time with it and it’s neat to see the kids go, too,” he said. “It’s a win-win situation.”
“We make it fun,” said Napoleon Subway manager Amber Ganaway. “Two to three weeks prior to Feed-A-Friend we get excited. We let our customers know what it’s going for and what it means to our community.”
The Napoleon Subway collected nearly 300 non-perishable food items and over $400 in cash donations – all of which would go to the Napoleon Food Pantry.