For many years, community members have been advocating the idea of bringing healthier food options to the Ignacio community. As the statistics of unhealthy lifestyles continue to rise, the impression of providing healthier choices became more open.
After a wave of phone calls and emails, the Subway franchise proposed a plan to open a restaurant in Ignacio. Now tribal members can get the benefit of a healthier option, and it couldn’t have been done without the dedication of some hardworking Ignacio High School students.
The concept of the project originated last year during Lynn Blakesley’s Service Learning class, which allows students to address community needs. After months of brainstorming, it became evident that the community was lacking an appropriate establishment that caters a more nutritious menu.
“The students [proposed] that Ignacio needed a restaurant that stays open for longer hours as well as being affordable. They decided healthier food options were beneficial, so they contacted Subway directly. The students did all of the contacting while role-playing as professionals,” Blakesly said.
The students then held a meet up with Dave Larson, Subway’s regional manager for the area. He spoke with the class and made suggestions on where to start the project. It was eventually decided that the restaurant’s location would be on 580 Goddard Avenue where Hero’s Sandwich Shop once stood.
Krislynn Thompson from Ignacio High School addressed how her group came to the conclusion of promoting a Subway establishment.
“We were sitting there thinking how small Ignacio is and how it needed different restaurants. All of them are old here. I think it’s a healthier choice aside from the greasy food that’s served here. I feel good to help provide this for the community,” Thompson said.
“As an athlete, this is a great change from a lot of other foods around here,” said high school student, Mike Perez. “Don’t get me wrong, there are good places to eat here, but some aren’t as healthy. As a community, I think everyone loves Subway and there’s a bigger variety that you can get. We had to get everyone on board as a class to take the idea forward, and now here we are.”
Lynn Blakesley stated that the project is meant to teach professional and communicative skills, giving the students the benefit of going onward with their ideas and concepts. Additionally, the Service Learning class is a required credit for students to graduate.
“We do a lot for the community,” said Hunter Frost. “We put up anti-drug posters by the Academy as well as speak with them about it. We also do trash pick up around town, and we recently just did some by the river.”
“We also provide clothing donations for the jail, that way people can have something to wear when they get out,” said Tristan Boone. “We’re doing what we can to make things a little better.”
The students were treated with a free lunch provided by Ron Clark, franchise owner. Clark states that he hopes the community will enjoy their selection of healthier subs.
Subway opened its doors to customers on Wednesday, Feb. 18.