The Sandwich Project
Hunger and homelessness is a pressing concern throughout the entire world. Often people turn a blind eye towards these issues, however these concerns are demanding and are located much closer to home than many people may realize. Throughout Minnesota there are thousands of people living on the streets on a daily basis. It is shocking to many people to realize that over half of the homeless people in Minnesota are teens, fewer than 17, or young children.
In the Twin Cities Area, there are two organizations that CobornsDelivers partners with that are making a continual difference in the lives of many of these people who are poverty stricken. These organizations are called Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc. (MRD) and The Sandwich Project Minnesota. These two companies are built on generous and often anonymous donations of talents and time. This CobornsDelivers Blog wants to share their powerful message of how humility and a small donation of time can truly make a difference to those in need.
History Of Program:
To discuss the history of these programs as well as to build a better understanding surrounding the connection to CobornsDelivers, Joe Rasmusson who is an employee at CobornsDelivers, has offered up some wonderful insight into the great organizations of Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc. and The Sandwich Program.
Joe couldn’t begin speaking on behalf of the program without mentioning Allan Law, who is the original founder of Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc. in 1967. Prior to the founding of MDR, Law was a teacher in the Inner City Minneapolis Public School System for over 30 years. His mission with the company has always been to, “Love One Another,” and that one can, “Judge our society by how we care for our children and the disadvantaged.” From 9:00 PM until 10:00 AM, Allan spends every night driving through inner city streets in the Twin Cities in search of people he can help.
Joe explained that Allan works overnight because that is when shelters are closed and homeless people living on the street are at their most vulnerable. Additionally, Allan responds to several calls a day from people in crisis. The requests range from finding jobs, bus passes or temporary housing, to basic needs such as food and care. Allan makes as many as 50 stops per night, stopping to help hundreds of people in the Twin Cities Area. Of these people, over 2,200 are children under age 17. MDR’s mission is to feed and provide emergency assistance to as many people as possible every single day.
Around late 2012, the company split into a second separate organization called The Sandwich Project Minnesota. This company has the same mission statement and ultimate goal of doing good for the community every single day of the year. There are now two teams that CobornsDelivers pairs up with and their goals of feeding 1,000 of people per week at various shelters and food shelves on a mission to make a difference in our communities.
Where Do the Sandwich Go?
Once the sandwich products are delivered by CobornsDelivers, volunteers and different groups and teams help to assemble them. Then the sandwiches are sent to soup kitchens, homeless shelters and Salvation Army centers. The goods that will not be distributed that evening are put in large freezers until they will be delivered and then distributed to those who are in need of them.
CobornsDelivers & The Sandwich Project
Back in 2010, MRD was having trouble finding respectable and reliable resources to get bread, meat, cheese and sandwich bag products from. The company contacted Joe Rasmusson, they worked out a deal with CobornsDelivers and it’s been history ever since! Whenever organizations or families want to do a volunteer event, they simply go online or contact Joe. Joe works with coordinating buyers and bread vendors in order to purchase supplies that are needed for the donation. He says the donations can range anywhere from 150 to several thousand sandwiches. His most recent large group that volunteered was C.H. Robinson. C.H. Robinson made over 26,000 sandwiches by teaming up with Kare 11 for an event. CobornsDelivers as well as Coborn’s Grocery Stores in incredibly involved in large events such as this one, because an event of this size uses over 3,000 loaves of bread and tons of participation.
On average, these sandwiches, which average about $0.50 per sandwich to make, create about 10,000-15,000 meals per month for hungry and homeless people in the Twin Cities area. Additionally, CobornsDelivers gives back a 5% discount to the organization or family that purchases the products. For a huge order like the one C.H. Robinson had, that would equal a savings of $1,200! At the end of the month, CobornsDelivers gives a 5% additional rebate back to MRD and The Sandwich Project, which is just one more additionally way they are giving back to the community.
Who Else Is Getting Involved?
In addition to the steadfast partnership with CobornsDelivers, MDR and The Sandwich Project have also teamed up with some other great partners. They have had active participation from General Mills, Cargill, Rotary and Lions Clubs, Boys and Girl Scouts for service projects and countless school volunteer groups throughout Minnesota.
Joe says some of the most memorable involvement teams are times when church groups or families visit as a way to give back to their community around the holiday season. Joe says it is also great when young people want to get involved. There have been several groups over the years complied of children ages 5-10 who opted to make sandwiches to give back to their community in exchange for hosting a birthday party. It’s selfless volunteerism like this that makes MRD and The Sandwich Program so successful in the Twin Cities Area.
Volunteering & Donating Questions
There are really no limitations or qualifications to get involved and become a volunteer- you just need to have a giving heart and set up the date of your donation. Although it is generally groups in the Twin Cities Area who donate their time, it is always possible to set up a donation date if you will be in the area for a certain event already. Joe says that often when companies will be in the region for conferences they set up a date and time to participate as a department or company-bonding event. Remember, you can always send a monetary donation to the programs if you are unable to volunteer your time and that donation link can be found on both of the company websites.
Are you interested in participating in The Sandwich Project or Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc. and giving back to your community? You can check out TheSandwichProject.org or the website of its original company, 363Days.org. On both of these websites you can either set up a donation date or find Joe’s contact information to have him answer any questions you may have.
As we head into the holiday season and begin our hectic family get together planning, CobornsDelivers encourages us to step back and reflect on those in our communities who have little and who may not be fortunate enough to celebrate a holiday in the ways we are accustomed to. Whether it be with The Sandwich Project or an organization in your own town, donating our time and giving our attention to those in need is the most selfless gift we can give this holiday season.