Recently I helped setup for a community event that served people struggling to meet basic needs by providing a wide variety of services such as medical care, haircuts, housing information, employment assistance, legal help, and a meal. During this setup I helped make bagged lunches of sandwiches, chips, and an apple. Kids and adults came together to assemble hundreds of sandwiches with bread, meat and cheese for what may be the only guaranteed meal for some of the people visiting the event. Today’s organization also brings people together to assemble sandwiches and provides a way to get them into the hands of people who need a meal.
Mr. Allan Law taught in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Schools for over 30 years. During that time he began working with youth to provide after school, weekend and summertime programs and started a non-profit called Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc, but that is another story. In 1999 when Mr. Law retired from teaching, he set off on a mission to help feed the homeless. The organization inspired by Mr. Law’s work is called 363 Days because the focus is feeding people on the 363 days a year (all but Christmas and Thanksgiving) that others forget about those in need.
He began by asking local convenience stores for the sandwiches that they were about to throw out. He would drive to dozens of stores collecting sandwiches then would take to the streets handing the sandwiches to those in need. In 2007 he ran into a former student of his and after hearing the story the former student had his bible study make 150 sandwiches for Mr. Law. This was the birth of the 363 Days organization which has since grown to 15 drop sites with freezers full of sandwiches that are distributed to the homeless. The organization helps coordinate sandwich making and delivery to freezers at drop-sites around the Twin Cities Metro Area.
Mr. Law now spends his nights driving to shelters in Minneapolis and St. Paul to drop off sandwiches. Shelter residents take sandwiches when they leave in the morning. He also hands out sandwiches to those he sees on the streets. Now he delivers over 500,000 sandwiches per year.
How can you help?
363 Days is always looking for groups to make sandwiches. You can find all the instructions on their website. In addition, they also distribute mittens, hats, coats, blankets, socks, toiletries and money that will help buy bus fare. Monetary donations are also welcome to assist with the cost of transporting sandwiches from the drop sites and administration. You can also find other in kind donation opportunities on the organization’s website.
Update: In 2012, the mission of 363 Days split into two separate organizations, The Sandwich Project and MRD 363 Days Food Program. You can learn more about each organization by visiting their joint website, 363days.org.