One Carson City business is giving back by donating thousands of sandwiches to the firefighters extinguishing the Virginia Mountain Fire in California.
The employees at Firehouse Subs have been working past regular business hours the last six days, to make nearly 5,000 sack lunches for the first responders. Each lunch holds a sandwich, a secondary sandwich, fruits, vegetables and snacks plus condiments and utensils for the firefighters.
“Those guys are all doing some of the hardest work and in the most miserable conditions so we wanted to help give them some hearty food,” co-owner Damon Kreizenbeck said. “We are all about the community service,”
The restaurant has been taking orders between 600 and 1,200 sandwiches and wraps each day. The volunteers prepare the sandwiches and veggies and then Kreizenbeck drives up a U-Haul of sack lunches to the firefighters.
“We are all about the community here and firefighters need to get fed and we are here to do it,” Kreizenbeck said.
It takes about 20 volunteers and nearly 12 hours to make that many sandwiches, but Kreizenbeck said the employees are more than happy to help. The employees are paid overtime, but have also recruited loved ones to volunteer and help with the cause.
“The staff is really into it, we just have a blast,” Kreizenbeck said.
The process starts about 2 p.m. when Kreizenbeck gets the order details, and they start assembling the sandwiches in the shop and preparing the fruits and vegetables. Each night after the restaurant closes, the employees and their friends and families turn the establishment into an assembly line, taking just a few seconds to stuff all the components into the bags. The haul then has to be delivered to the fire command center.
“We basically haven’t slept in the last week, the employees have pretty much been working around the clock,” Kreizenbeck said. “We probably look like zombies to people by now.”
The company anticipates it will only have to continue making the sandwiches until about today, since recent reports have said the fire is close to containment.
This service is a part of the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which raises nearly $20 million to give back to firefighters, law enforcement and other first responders. The Carson City Firehouse Subs recently donated nearly $50,000 to get equipment for the Carson City Fire Department ambulance and AEDs for the department.
In addition to hand preparing and delivering the sandwiches, Firehouse Subs is trying to give back by holding its 5th annual H2O for Heroes water drive today. If guests bring in an unopened 24-pack of bottled water to any Firehouse Subs, they will receive a free medium sandwich. The H2O for Heroes was started five years ago as an initiative in Phoenix to support first responders battling wild fires and has grown to a nationwide effort to help aid first responders and community members in need.
All of the water donated goes toward local first responders and senior and community centers as a way to aid those in need of water during the hot summer months when heat stroke and dehydration are most threatening.