Windham Bigg Play board members Bob Burns, “Mooney” Haddad and Bill Shea at the Elks Lodge Feb. 7, 2016 for the annual “Remy’s Grinders” Super Bowl Sunday fundraiser.


Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


It was another successful year for the annual Windham Bigg Play, Inc. Super Bowl Sunday fundraiser featuring “Remy’s Grinders”. According to Bigg Play board members 650 grinders were sold this year which marked a historic 50th anniversary for the National Football League Super Bowl event. Proceeds from the “Remy’s Grinders” sales will help send young baseball players abroad on goodwill trips.

"Mooney" Haddad (right) assists a customer.

“Mooney” Haddad (right) assists a customer.









Bigg Play – Baseball International Goodwill Games Promoting Learning and Advancement of Youth – made its first trip in 1996 to Poland. Since then the group has brought young ball players to Amsterdam, to visit the Great Wall of China and more. Costs of the trips are in the thousands so a ‘small group of thoughtful, committed citizens’ joined by each of the baseball team’s members and their families work year round holding fundraising breakfasts, a craft fair, an annual golf tournament at the “Golf Club at Windham” and the Super Bowl Sunday “Remy’s Grinders” sale.


"Remy's Grinders" packed and ready for pick-up Sunday, February 7, 2016.

“Remy’s Grinders” packed and ready for pick-up Sunday, February 7, 2016.

Magic in the popularity of the latter is the result of the reputation of great taste earned by the SantaLucia and Handfield families who made the grinders – with shredded cabbage not lettuce – in the old downtown Willimantic/Windham dugout store for many years. Though the dugout is now closed, the exceptionally good flavor of the grinders and the cordiality of the two families towards their customers have been well-remembered by the community. (Read the original newsandviewsjb story posted January 26, 2015).


“One of the most striking effects of these trips is the appreciation each young player develops for another culture, language and environment,” notes Windham Bigg Play.


Elks Lodge

Willimantic/Windham, Connecticut Elks Lodge 1311 located on 198 Pleasant Street.




The Willimantic/Windham Elks Lodge has been a partner in the Bigg Play efforts from the beginning providing a spot where the ‘famous’ grinders can be made and readied for the noon to 3 p.m. pick-up. A worse kept secret of the day, however, is that a number of eager folks stop in earlier to gather up their deli delights!



Bigg Play board members include Munere “Mooney” Haddad, Bill Shea, Andy LaCombe, Fran SantaLucia, Gary Jones, Rick Ganoe and Bob Burns. Go to http://www.biggplay.org for more information about Bigg Play, a non-profit group, and to learn how to make a donation.