Hoagie sales have long been a popular way for school groups and other organizations to raise money.
Local businesses such as Sheetz Inc. and Big Mouth Subs and Catering are among those that help groups to raise money by selling their products.
"People are seeking out fundraisers. They are looking for ones where they can make money quickly and easier. It is getting very competitive," said Tammy Dunkley, Sheetz Inc. corporate advertising manager.
(Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec)
Owner Chris McDonnell makes subs for the lunchtime crowd at Big Mouth Subs and Catering in the Plank Road Commons shop.
Sheetz revised its fundraising program in March and is now offering organizations a book of coupons, which they sell for $10.
The books, which include coupons for free MTO items, specialty coffees, doughnuts, hot dogs and breakfast sandwiches, have a retail value of more than $25, Dunkley said.
"People say, 'Wow, this is easy.' You don't have to deliver hoagies. Just sell the coupon book and you are done," Dunkley said. "The organization gets to keep $4 out of the $10. There is not a better return. It is a great deal."
Sheetz is seeing an increase in people using their fundraisers, which also can be accessed online.
"Typically we see that in the spring and fall," Dunkley said. "We do fundraising with a lot of schools and other nonprofit organizations. We have always been strong here in central Pennsylvania, but we plan to market this in other states where we have stores."
Big Mouth Subs and Catering in the Plank Road Commons saw a major increase in fundraising activity in March.
"In my 25 years in business I've never seen a month like this," said owner Chris McDonnell. "We went from last year with none in March to 20-some this year. People are calling every day. People are jumping on the bandwagon."
Big Mouth Subs has been preparing thousands of subs for delivery, but McDonnell said the new sub card he is offering is gaining popularity as well.
The card, which costs $6.50, is good for a 14-inch sub, chips and a drink, and the organization makes $1.25 on each card sold.
"It is probably a $10 value. I am not making money, but it is just something I want to do for the community," said McDonnell, a Hollidaysburg native.
Welding students at the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center and 11th-grade English students at Altoona Area High School are among those now selling the sub cards.
"We've sold Marianna's hoagies in the past and that worked well. Marianna's is a great sell, but you have to take the orders, have the hoagies delivered and get them to the customers. This is less time-consuming," said welding instructor George Seese, whose students have sold more than 300 sub cards so far. They'll be using the money to help pay for sweat shirts.
English teacher Betsy Giansante said several students suggested the fundraiser for something different.
"Our students are earning money to go to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., on May 27," Giansante said.
"If each student sells 40, his trip is paid for."
Meanwhile, many people like the convenience of receiving a fresh hoagie delivered to them and Marianna's Fundraisers, operated by DelGrosso Foods in Tipton, continues to turn out up to 10,000 fresh hoagies daily.
"We've been doing this for 31 years. It has been pretty successful for the DelGrosso family. We've had a surge in sales but not a gangbusters surge," said spokesman Jeff Ingram. "We start making them at 3 a.m. so they are fresh for delivery that morning."
Marianna's is selling hoagies over a wider area.
"We are seeing more new business coming our way. We are receiving phone calls from people more further out. We have been getting calls from schools in the Harrisburg and Lewisburg areas and as far south as Cumberland and Hagerstown," Ingram said. "We have five delivery trucks, so we are prepared to go further if we need to."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.