Tom + Chee
knows what it’s like to be the underdog.
What was once a food tent at Fountain Square
is now a nationally recognized brand under contract to be a more-than-100-store operation in 2014 (see Tom+Chee prepares for rapid growth in 2014
). And it’s this rise-from-the-top mentality that Tom + Chee co-founders Jenny Rachford and Jenn Quackenbush say they apply to the company’s involvement in the nonprofit sector as well.
“Of course we’d love to give to everyone doing good work,” Rachford says. “There are a lot of people trying to do good things, but the small groups don’t have a lot of the support the big ones can pull.”
So Tom + Chee created The Grilled Cheese That Cares program this past October when it partnered with The Kentucky Thorough-Breasts
—a team of breast cancer survivors and dragon boat racers affiliated with Paddling for Cancer Awareness
“We developed a campaign which involved the Pink Dragon Fire Donut, which was a glazed donut with cherry mascarpone, graham cracker and jalapeno compote, and donated a dollar from each to their cause,” Rachford says.
Continuing with the trend of supporting small, local nonprofits, T+C is now collecting gifts for children connected with Autism 4 Families and Puzzling Panthers
, in exchange for a free grilled cheese donut.
So for a total of seven families and 27 children, the financial strain of purchasing gifts from each child’s wish list will be removed, as presents will be provided through the Grilled Cheese That Cares initiative.
“Christmas time is special—especially for kids,” Rachford says. “We all have our childhood memories of Christmases, good or bad, but as grownups and even with our business—we’re kid-centered, family-centered and focused, and this is something that genuinely comes from that place. We want to make families happy.”
• Contact Jenny Rachford
or Jenn Quackenbush
if you're a local nonprofit who would like to partner up for future Grilled Cheese that Cares efforts.
• Visit a Tom + Chee location, pick up a gift tag with a child's name and request on it, and return the unwrapped item by Dec. 20 for a free grilled cheese donut.
• Support local nonprofits.
By Brittany York
is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati
and Xavier University
. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.