Tremendous Response to “Remy’s Grinders” Fundraiser for Bigg Play
Posted on February 5, 2015
Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
It was big for Bigg Play !
The sale of “Remy’s Grinders” on Super Bowl Sunday to benefit Bigg Play had a terrific response. Bigg Play is an organization based in Windham, Connecticut that raises money to send youth baseball teams abroad. This year marked the tenth anniversary of the annual grinder sales fundraiser.
According to Bigg Play President Bill Shea, an article posted on newsandviewsjb last week – “Lengendary ‘Remy’s Grinders’ Reappear on Super Bowl Sundays” – gave the already popular grinder sales, a tremendous bounce. Before noon on February 1, when grinder pick-up was slated to begin, Bigg Play had already run out of meat and had to send out to restock. Rows and rows of tables were arranged in the Willimantic Elks Lodge reception hall where volunteers waited for more salami and ham to fill foot-long rolls and create those tasty, memorable sandwiches.
The idea to sell “Remy’s Grinders” originated with Gary Jones, a Bigg Play board member who once worked at “Remy’s Grinder Shop”. Owned and operated by J. Remy Handfield and later his son Jay Handfield, the shop known as “Remy’s” and nicknamed the “dugout” by customers, was located in the downtown Willimantic section of Windham from 1954 until closing in the early 1990’s. Prior to ownership by Remy Handfield, the small grocery store belonged to his in-laws, the Santa Lucia family who were Italian immigrants and was later sold back to other members of the Santa Lucia family by Jay Handfield.
Jones said on Sunday, before Bigg Play moved forward with selling “Remy’s Grinders” he went to ask permission from Jay Handfield to use his dad’s name.
“I went and asked Jay,” noted Jones.
The rest as they say is history…. Described by many as the “best ever”, the memory of “Remy’s Grinders” and former customers’ affection for the man who made them and the old dugout, has now been helping Bigg Play send local youth baseball teams abroad for a decade.
Go to biggplay.org to learn more about Bigg Play