Fundraiser celebrates 50 years of Richie’s at Temple

The Office of Annual Giving and Richie Jr. are partnering to help students with food insecurity.

Students line up at Richie’s food stand on Sept. 13. Richie Jr. is celebrating 50 years of selling food at Main Campus. | ALEX ARMSTEAD / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Richie Jr. practically grew up on campus. He watched his grandfather and father run Richie’s, in the sandwich shops’ original “food pad” near Tuttleman Learning Center.

Twenty years ago, Richie Jr. bought the cafe from his father, and this year, he celebrates 50 years of the business at Temple. Richies’ now-relocated shop at The Wall draws long lines every weekday around lunchtime and has expanded to three locations on campus this past year.

“It was something that was legendary, growing up here, being a part of [it],” Richie Jr. said. “That’s been 50 years. I mean it’s come and gone so fast. I’m just blown away because I’ve been here for 20 years myself.” 

For the shop’s 50th anniversary, Richie’s is promoting a fundraiser for the Cherry Pantry, Temple’s on-campus food pantry, through Temple’s Office of Institutional Advancement. The Cherry Pantry provides food and other goods to students experiencing food insecurity. 

The goal is to raise $5,000 before the end of the month, and the fundraiser has already raised $4,250 since launching on Sept. 3, said Jason Strohl, the associate director of direct messaging in the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Strohl said the fundraiser will be sending out interactive games, like a “Which Richie’s Food Item Are You?” quiz to raise awareness for it. 

Strohl added that when they met, Richie brought up the idea to donate to the Cherry Pantry.

“He felt really strongly about feeding the Temple community, making sure that everyone has food to eat,” Strohl said. “Even if they can’t afford to go to Richie’s, they can go to the Cherry Pantry and eat there.”

Richie Jr. said that the fundraiser goes beyond monetary donations—it helps  raise awareness about the Cherry Pantry.

“People think it’s just food,” Richie Jr. said. “When there are issues, when there’s trouble, it’s not about monetary support … It’s about being supportive, a friend.”

Matthew Wolf, a sophomore history major, said he goes to Richie’s about twice a week for his coffee. He said the fundraiser was a good idea because it’s important for a business to help the community it serves. 

“It’s really cool that a local business based on Temple itself is trying to help the Temple community,” Wolf said.   “That’s always a good thing, especially nowadays in such a tumultuous climate, it brings people together.”

The fundraiser shows that the Temple community is always looking out for each other, Strohl said.

“Raising money for something like the Cherry Pantry … it’s just one of the ways we show that as members of the Temple community we will do everything we can to lift each other up,” he added.

Richie Jr. said the anniversary is special to commemorate his family’s legacy, especially after his grandfather passed away last year. He added the students at Temple have driven him to keep running Richie’s for 20 years.

“They’re my fan base, they’re my friends, they’re part of the family,” he said.

He added that the best part of being around for so long is seeing past students and new generations come back to enjoy Richie’s. 

“You have my grandfather’s customers who recently come to visit, to my father’s customers, to my customers, and now you have mothers and fathers and their kids coming to school here,” Richie Jr. said. “The longevity, the love that they have for Temple, the love they have for Richie’s, it’s just really overwhelming.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story listed Jason Strohl as the assistant director of direct messaging in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Strohl is the associate director of direct messaging.

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