Mere weeks ago, Jimmy John’s operating partner Mike Mayes and area manager Jordan Thomas put together an ambitious plan to feed all 5,000 nurses throughout Knoxville, Tennessee, as part of Nurses Appreciation Week. But what started as a culture-driven response to the sacrifices nurses are making every day has turned into an inspiring movement.
For the past five years, Mayes and his Jimmy John’s team have participated in Nurses Appreciation Week. This year, after discussing it with his wife, Morgan, who serves as an ER nurse herself, he wanted to take their efforts a step further by providing ‘thank you’ notes with every meal. So Thomas turned to the community to support Jimmy John’s in its endeavor, setting up an email address — firstname.lastname@example.org — and sharing a simple message locally: nurses are our heroes, so please join us in thanking them for all they do.
The response was overwhelming, as letters poured in from all over the country.
“We received emails all the way from California to Myrtle Beach and everywhere in between,” Thomas said.
In total, their team was able to fulfill the goal of feeding all 5,000 nurses, while sharing notes of encouragement from people all over the country. Those notes ranged from a simple ‘thank you’ to a heartfelt understanding of the stress and isolation many are going through. Mayor of Knox County, Glenn Jacobs (aka professional wrestling star, Kane) even contributed with the following:
After wrapping up the food donation initiative, Mayes, Thomas and their team have plans to continue sharing these notes with local nurses as Knoxville and the rest of the country battles the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The #jjsthanksnurses campaign will continue for us here in Knoxville as long as notes of appreciation keep coming in,” Thomas said.
“For a lot of us, it’s about having opportunities like this to serve people within the community, especially those who have been so selfless. This is what I live for at Jimmy John’s.”