Hundreds of sandwiches and produce donated to EBR Sheriff's Office, St. Vincent de Paul
BATON ROUGE - A local restaurant franchise owner decided to fully close his two locations and donate hundreds of sandwiches and fresh produce because of COVID-19 concerns.
Billy Francioni owns two subway restaurants in East Baton Rouge Parish and decided to stop doing take out orders on April 1 due to health concerns for his employees.
“With this pandemic, we’ve decided to go ahead and close d own just for the safety of all the employees,” Francioni said.
Before putting a stop to all the sandwich making, Francioni had to figure out what to do with all the food that would expire. He first started with his employees.
“Nobody's gonna go hungry who works for me. If you need turkey, ham, bacon – take what you think you need for a month to sustain your families,” Francioni said.
There was still more inventory leftover even after employees were allowed to take perishable items. On Friday, the rest was either boxed up or thrown in-between some freshly baked bread.
“So we came up with the idea of first responders and different charities, and we are donating everything in the store that we can’t freeze to open up with,” Francioni said.
In total, over 200 sandwiches were sliced up for the Sheriff’s Office. A few boxes of fresh produce were also donated on Friday to St. Vincent de Paul.
“Onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and about 60-70 sandwiches to St. Vincent de Paul,” Francioni said.
Francioni says that putting a stop on to-go orders wasn’t an easy decision. He had to politely tell multiple people who tried to come in for lunch that they were closed.
“It’s not what we want to say,” Francioni said.
At least now, Francioni says that he knows this food won’t go to waste.
“I know that sales are down, stuff’s getting expired. Before it gets expired let's get it to the people who can use it,” Francioni said.
He’s now calling upon other restaurant owners in similar situations to do the same and donate perishable items before they get thrown out.
“Before your vegetables get bad before you can’t do something. I challenge everybody. Go out there and let’s just give it to them. We’re all going to get through this together,” Francioni said.
Both the Sheriff’s Office and St. Vincent de Paul said they are extremely grateful for the food donations they received.
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