Every second counts when its comes to making submarine sandwiches with the Grove City Masonic Lodge 689, F. & A.M. of Ohio.
The lodge completed its latest fundraiser last week, assembling 3,072 pre-sold sandwiches in less than two and a half hours.
"Someone figured that comes out to about one sub every two or three seconds," sandwich sale chairman Ed Goldhardt said.
At least 60 to 70 lodge members and volunteers worked at six stations to assemble the subs on Feb. 1 at the lodge headquarters, 3558 Park St.
"What we have set up is a well-oiled machine," Goldhardt said.
Each sub includes three pieces of ham, three slices of salami, four pieces of pepperoni, two slices of mozzarella cheese and three slices of provolone.
"It works like an assembly line," Goldhardt said. "The people at the end of the line send the bread down and one person adds ham, one person salami and so on.
"No one individually is working very hard, but collectively, we sure get a lot done," he said.
And the lodge accomplishes quite a lot through its sub sale.
Each sub costs $6 and the lodge uses all of its proceeds to support an array of causes, including the Grove City Little League, Central Crossing Special Needs Basketball, Children's Dyslexia Centers, Special Olympics, the Grove City Food Pantry, Buddy Ball, the Grove City Scribbles writing project, Order of the Eastern Star Cancer Walk and a youth trap shooting team.
"Most of the organizations we support are Grove City oriented," Goldhardt said. "We try to take care of the community as much as we can."
The lodge holds its sub sale twice a year, in advance of the Super Bowl and the Ohio State University-Michigan football game.
"We take orders in advance and try to wrap those up the Saturday before our assembly days," Goldhardt said. "That way we know how many subs we need to make and how much ingredients to buy so we don't have a lot left over."
The assembly process takes three days. During the first two days, condiments, along with peppers and onions, are packaged together to be delivered separately from the sandwiches.
"That allows people to choose what extras they want to put on their subs," Goldhardt said.
The sandwich sale began in 2008, he said.
"We were looking for a way to raise more money and we decided to give a sub sale a try," said Goldhardt, who declined to give a figure on how much the sale raises.
"The first year I think we sold 412 subs and we were ecstatic. It went from 412 to 600, then to 800, then to 1,200 and now we're over 3,000," he said. "It's turned out to be quite a success."
Assembly day is busy, but "it's a lot of fun," said Cathy Ewing, who volunteers for the submarine sales and whose late husband, Bob, was a lodge member and helped organize the fundraisers.
"With all the work we're doing, there's still time for everyone to talk and socialize with one another," she said. "You'll hear a lot of laughter and cutting up."
"It's just the camaraderie and friendship you get from people here, the brotherhood and sisterhood," lodge member Keith Fields said. "I think everybody's in a good mood because we know we're doing a good thing here."
The best feeling is knowing the lodge is able to help others with the money it raises, Ewing said.
"That's one of the core missions of Masonry -- to help others," she said.
In addition to the sandwich sales, the lodge hosts a public breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Community members are invited to stop by and have their choice of eggs made to order, hash browns, Belgian waffles, pancakes, bacon, sausage, toast, biscuits and gravy and a beverage. Donations are accepted and help fund lodge activities and charities.
More information about Grove City Lodge 689, including how to join the organization, is available at grovecity 689.org.