Jared Fogle, the Subway commercial spokesman, was in Glendale last week to receive a $20,000 donation from Subway Kids & Sports to his foundation in support of starting a CATCH program at three Arizona locations, including the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center in Scottsdale and the Tucson JCC.
CATCH, an acronym for Coordinated Approach to Child Health, is a program of Fogle’s Jared Foundation.
The VOSJCC plans to send its youth director, Alex Sachs, and a second staff member to a future CATCH training session, said Suzanne Swift, VOSJCC program and cultural arts director. Then, she said, they will train more teachers.
“It’s an excellent program and we’re excited to bring it to the center,” she said. CATCH will start in the JCC preschool and then expand to older age groups. The grant to Fogle’s foundation is a gift from Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona, a nonprofit that helps provide sports equipment, uniforms, registration fees and access to major sporting events for children who otherwise might not be able to participate. The group has helped more than 20,000 Arizona children since it was started in 1999, according to Mark Roden, president of the group and a Valley Subway owner.
Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona was started by Arizona Subway franchisees who are looking to advise children on healthy alternatives to diets loaded with sugar and fat and to sedentary play and TV watching.
Fogle, who lives in Indian-apolis, is celebrating his 15th anniversary as spokesperson for the Subway sandwich restaurant chain. He travels around the country telling his story of how he lost 245 pounds in one year with the support of family, friends and Subway sandwiches. By college, he weighed 425 pounds; his weight has ranged between about 180 to 190 pounds for the past 15 years, according to a spokesperson.
Fogle told Jewish News that he grew up in Indianapolis, and, like many other Jewish kids, went to the Jewish community center there to participate in the many activities it offered. However, because of his childhood obesity, it was difficult for him to be as active as other children.
Fogle decided to create the Jared Foundation in 2004 because he wanted to give back to places like the JCC, which potentially could help a lot of children avoid becoming overweight.
Roden said he also struggled with childhood obesity and doesn’t want to see his daughter or any other child go through the hardships he endured.
“You don’t know how it feels unless you’ve been there, and I’ve been there,” Roden said.
“We want to teach (the kids) to get up, to move and to make healthy decisions,” said Fogle.
Fogle would like to change the childhood obesity trend in America, which has been increasing steadily.
“Our goal is to get kids on a better path, and I want to combine that with Jewish camps, not just for the Jewish kids, but for the entire community,” he said.
Both Roden and Fogle hope to gain funding and awareness in order to extend the program to as many camps and schools as possible. Their hope is that in time, children participating in CATCH will be the spokespeople for younger kids and act as their role models.
Subway Kids & Sports also supports healthy-eating and exercise programs, outdoor family activities and other activities to produce healthy and happy children, Roden said.