Jack’s Aims To Raise $1 Million For Muscular Dystrophy Association

Published March 10, 2014


Jack’s is making its own luck again this year by raising money for Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) of Greater Alabama’s Shamrocks Against Dystrophy Campaign. This is Jack’s 16th year to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser that raises funds to support MDA’s fight against muscular dystrophy and related diseases, including its programs of research, services, advocacy and education. 

Over the past 17 years, Jack’s has raised more than $866,000 for MDA. This year, the company hopes to raise the remaining $133,000 to reach the $1 million mark. 

“Jack’s is the highest fundraising sponsor in the state of Alabama that is not connected as a national sponsor,” said Greater Alabama MDA Executive Director Terri Wilson. “We could NOT do this without them. They don’t just sell the shamrocks for a dollar. They’re raising money for families and communities they care about.”  

Jack’s Area Manager Shelia Parnell has raised the most money every year through innovative fundraising in each of her stores. From yard sales to car washes, she says it’s all about getting in touch with the community. 

“Just last weekend, we raised more than $500 in Somerville between 1-4 p.m. by hosting what we called a ‘play day’ at Jack’s,” Parnell said. “We had pony rides and face painting, bake sales and yard sales, all of which was contributed from the surrounding community, including the sheriff’s office.” 

Throughout Summerville, Petersville and Florence, elementary children support the cause by hosting penny drives, where the highest-grossing classroom wins a breakfast party from Jack’s. 

“The children love helping out. They get to put their names on their shamrocks and donate as much as they want to the fundraiser,” said Parnell. “The store managers are always surprised at the loads of pennies they pick up.”    

In a similar way, Jack’s Area Manager Kathy VanZant pushes the envelope for creative fundraisers. Last weekend, VanZant raised more than $1,800 by hosting a car show in Fayette. Oldies music and more than 50 antique cars brought eager crowds looking to have a great time by coming together as a community to support a worthy cause. 

Still, she is looking forward to partnering with Jack’s Area Manager Diane Roden to host what has become the company’s highest grossing event, the MDA Poker Run. The event, now in its sixth year, raised more than $5,000 in one day last year. 

“People look forward to this event every year. They know it’s coming the third Saturday in March, and they prepare,” VanZant said. 

The poker tournament hosts more than 100 participants who pay $20 per bike to ride in the race. In addition, generous donations by local companies and individuals aim to raise big dollars during the private auction.  

“Events like these are fun, but more importantly, they show what Jack’s is all about,” said Jack’s Director of Marketing Pam Measel. “There is a lot of personal time poured into MDA on top of everyone’s work schedules. Across the region, we’re working together to serve our communities outside of the store.” 

Jack’s company-wide efforts directly impact MDA. Seventy-seven percent of every dollar MDA spends goes directly to research, services and education; 14.5 percent to fundraising, and 8.5 percent to administrative costs. MDA spends $65 a minute on its worldwide research program, which supports some 250 projects. 

Locally, Jack’s team members and customers focus on sending kids to Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults (ASCCA), where children with muscle diseases can enjoy a week of accessible fun at the end of June. 

“Locally, Jack’s has always been our number-one supporter of MDA Summer Camp,” said Wilson. Jack’s employees always support the event, which will be held June 22-27 at Camp ASCCA in Jackson’s Gap, AL.” 

The MDA Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign started in 1982 and is the nation’s largest charity-related fundraiser associated with St. Patrick’s Day. It is currently the number one program for raising funds in Central Alabama.  

For more information about Jack’s and the MDA Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign, visit www.mdausa.org. 


About Jack’s Family Restaurants, Inc.  

Jack’s Family Restaurants, Inc. was started in 1960 in Homewood, Ala. The restaurant specializes in burgers, crinkle‐cut fries and hand‐dipped shakes. Jack’s has more than 120 stores across the Southeast with locations in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. Since 1960, many things have changed in our world, but one thing has remained the same: Jack’s is still serving up great food, with a smile.