Smashing the campaign goal by raising twice as much as targeted, Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes guests, team members, farmers and suppliers have raised $300,000 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® battle to help kids beat cancer and other serious diseases.
Marking the first time the restaurants and St. Jude partnered together on a national giving campaign, the effort far exceeded initial goals and thanks to everyone for the generous contributions. All money raised will go directly to the hospital to support the St. Jude mission: Finding Cures. Saving Children®.
Actor Patrick Warburton, the voice of the Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes “Discover Fresh” advertising campaign, introduced Garden Fresh to St. Jude by sharing his personal commitment to St. Jude.
“I’m so proud of how our guests, restaurant teams and partners stepped up to support this heartfelt effort to help St. Jude in their critical effort to save kid’s lives,” said John Morberg, CEO of Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., which added $35,000 to the campaign in addition to funds raised through the company’s restaurants and supply partners.
The check was presented at the sixth annual The Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament in Palm Desert, CA, an event benefiting St. Jude. “This experience of helping St. Jude kids and our success really helps tell a story of who we are and how committed our people are.”
A big thank you to the employees at the restaurants who helped with donations. Restaurants across the nation set goals. One example of the boundless dedication is San Diego’s Mission Gorge Souplantation that set a goal for $5,000. Mission Gorge General Manager (GM) Robert Suarez is proud of his cashiers. Alyssa Roberts personally donated $184 at the end of her shift to help meet the restaurant goal. Another employee, Oscar Mercardo, did not donate just once; he donated $10, $20, multiple times throughout the campaign.
Elsewhere, Derrick Judson, GM in Albuquerque #1 Sweet Tomatoes, spoke about two of his standout cashiers, Julian Galvin and Yuri Rhymes. “The way they interact with guests on a first name basis and the way they engage personally encouraged guests to give more.”
Sweet Tomatoes in Aurora, CO, was the top ranked restaurant in terms of donations per guest during the campaign. Acting GM Eric Entrikin said his regulars made significant contributions to the drive. “A lot of our regulars were asking us every day where we were at company wise and how much we raised and they’re just gung ho for it. Everybody came together and we had fun.” Eric gives credit to his cashiers. Wendy Benson, who has been there for 10 years, raised close to $700 by herself. Amanda Raimo and Maya Lastarria also raised a lot each time they were at the register.