As a journalist and freelance writer, I usually write a story and then move onto the next one.
My experience with Lunches with Love, a small (but growing) group of people who come together once a month to make lunches for homeless people has been a bit different.
Not only have I written about the wonderful work they are doing but, as a leader for junior high youth at Charleswood United Church, I’ve been able to participate first-hand in the organized chaos of sticking sandwiches, fruit and cookies into lunchbags, alongside many other members of my community.
Nathan Unrau and his mother, Elsie, started Lunches with Love out of their living room as part of a school project Nathan was working on.
They intended the lunchmaking to be a one-time thing, but it quickly took on a life of its own.
Lunches with Love is at the point where it has "now reached over 16,000 lunches served to Siloam Mission and the Main Street Project," Nathan says.
Making that many lunches isn’t easy, when you don’t always have a steady stream of donations, and when many people’s minds are more focused on the upcoming beach weather than on the city’s homeless.
"It’s harder to get donations over the summer," Nathan says.
Considering the amount of lunches Lunches with Love has been able to deliver, I found it surprising it has never actually held its own fundraiser.
But that’s something that’s about to change.
On May 29, from 6 to 9 p.m., Lunches with Love is holding a Bud, Spud and Steak fundraising dinner, hosted by Ace Burpee at Canad Inns Polo Park.
Steak, potatoes and Caesar salad will be dished up, and there will be silent auction prizes. All proceeds from the $20 ticket go toward making lunches.
"We want to double our efforts and deliver lunches twice a month. This will mean up to 1,200 lunches a month and a minimum of 50 volunteers," Elsie says. "Lunches with Love is going to be around a long time, supporting the community."
And community is the key word. I never get tired of friends and neighbours mentioning to me they first heard of Lunches with Love through my article. Building those kinds of connections from the ground up are what community news stories are all about.
To find out more about getting involved or to purchase tickets, email LunchesWIthLove@shaw.ca or connect with them on Facebook.
Amanda Thorsteinsson is a community correspondent for Charleswood.