Helping the Children

By Rachel Schwartzberg

Patrick and Caroline Pompeo

 “It is just simple giving,” says Patrick Pompeo of his philanthropy. “We are contributing to a great organization to help children.”

Patrick Pompeo says the reason he and his wife, Caroline, give to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is simple: “I know St. Jude is going to use my gift to do the right thing.”

Strong supporters of St. Jude for many years, the New Jersey couple directs some of their generous giving through their donor-advised fund, which they established with a major financial services firm.

Pompeo retired in 2001 from Blimpie, an international sandwich shop chain. When his brother-in-law founded the company in the 1960s, Pompeo was working at the New York Stock Exchange, but his relative wanted him to join the growing business.

“I had experience working at an Italian deli for five years,” he says. “I knew cold cuts. I knew food.”

Finally, in 1975, he joined Blimpie, beginning a second career that spanned more than two-and-a-half decades.

He originally began giving to St. Jude because of Danny Thomas.

“I watched Make Room for Daddy,” Pompeo explains. “I loved the show, and I loved Danny Thomas. One day he was doing an interview, and he shared his story about praying to St. Jude to make it in show business—and how he built the hospital as a shrine to St. Jude. Danny Thomas made such an impression on me.”

Years later, Pompeo decided he should also do something for St. Jude.

“I discussed it with my wife,” he says, “and we have been contributing to the hospital since then.”

Today, the couple volunteers at their parish food pantry and say they feel blessed to have their daughter, Annemary, and three granddaughters nearby.

Pompeo visited St. Jude for the first time last year with his daughter and one of his granddaughters. They were impressed by how St. Jude is “so full of love and hope.”

He explains that in giving to St. Jude, he and his wife never had goals or ambitions.

“It is just simple giving,” he says. “I never doubt St. Jude and how they use the money. We are contributing to a great organization to help children.”

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