The Washington Township School District and Education Foundation will host its 28th annual Helping Hands hoagie sale, once again with the help of Liscio’s Bakery.
The bakery made last year’s sale possible when COVID prevented students from hand crafting and selling the hoagies themselves on Super Bowl Sunday. This year, with the pandemic still a factor, Liscio’s will again step in to keep the fundraiser going.
“There are no plans to make this the way going forward forever … this is out of necessity,” said Education Foundation President Charlie Doud of taking the hoagie fundraiser outside the schools. “We realize the impact it has on the community and the schools and the kids. Whether you are getting up to make hoagies at 6 a.m. or you’re standing on the corner freezing your butt off selling hoagies to people … We plan to go back.
“Liscios has been fantastic with their support of us and we can’t thank them enough,” he added.
From Feb. 7 through 5, Liscio’s will donate 25 percent of its income from hoagies and hoagie trays to the Helping Hands effort. Participating stores include Cross Keys (3321 Route 42, Sicklerville), Wedgwood (373 Egg Harbor Road, Sewell) and Glassboro (124 S. Delsea Drive, Glassboro). The fundraiser netted $17,000 last year.
This year, the education foundation wants to make things easier on students and staff in the bakeries.
“Last year, I think we lost sight of the fact that the kids that are in those stores, in a good way, but they are being inundated,” Doud explained. “On normal days and even normal Super Bowl Sunday, people aren’t walking in and buying one hoagie, they are buying 10 …
“I just want to make sure that the ED Foundation and hoagie committee and the entire organization are thankful and grateful to these kids and all the workers,” he added. “It doesn’t go unnoticed.”
In order to help bakery staff, the foundation wants hoagie buyers to spread out their purchases rather than just ordering during Super Bowl weekend.
“I was talking to one of the managers at the store about Super Bowl weekend being ungodly,” said Doud. “So hypothetically, I want to buy hoagies to help the cause … I will go out and buy them on Thursday, when all hell isn’t breaking loose. Buy them early or the day after (the Super Bowl) just to alleviate the rush a little bit.”
Although students have been unable to participate in the sale the way they did in previous years, the district and the foundation have come up with an alternative. Students in the middle and high schools can create Helping Hands hoagie sale commercials using FlipGrid.
The commercials will be voted on and a winner chosen by retired and beloved high- school teacher, Carol Costello. The prize will be a gift card.
“We understand that we can’t have 300 kids go into Liscio’s and start doing things; it isn’t realistic,” Doud noted. “So we created a contest where students could create 30 second commercials on FlipGrid … The kids are unbelievably clever.”
The commercials are not the only thing the foundation wants students to get out of the annual fundraiser. According to Doud, the sale should enable students to learn the importance of caring for and participating in the community.
“The reason it will go on when I leave is that we want people to realize that no matter how good they have it, there are a whole lot of people that are struggling,” said Doud. “We want to plant the seeds into these kids to be involved for all the good reasons …
“Back in the day, getting a senior, 17 years old, out of bed on a Sunday morning at 6 a.m. is a win in itself, but it lets us know that they get the message,” he added. “The earlier we can plant the seeds into the kids to be helpful in the community and be involved in the community, we feel that going forward they are going to start growing that part of them.”
As of deadline, no recipient has been chosen to receive sale funds, although the foundation has many families in mind who could use the help.
“We hope for the best and we are hoping for as much money as possible,” Doud acknowledged. “I have been getting emails about some folks who are in a tough way and it really motivates you to keep going.”
To participate in the sale, or learn more about it, visit wtps.org. Participants will also find a QR code to use at the time of purchase so sale proceeds will go directly to the fundraiser.
Families not wishing to purchase a hoagie but still interested in supporting the fundraiser can make a donation through Venmo at @WT-ED-Foundation. Checks made payable to the Washington Township Education Foundation (indicate Helping Hands hoagie sale on the front) can be mailed to Charlie Doud, foundation president, 206 East Holly Ave., Sewell, 08080.