What started out as a school project quickly turned into a life’s passion for 13-year-old Nathan Unrau, and he recently received some huge help in his quest.
On Aug. 23 and 24, Coca-Cola Canada joined Unrau to help feed Winnipeg’s homeless. Coca-Cola Canada also helped to create an official logo for Lunches with Love — Unrau’s non-profit organization which works to feed homeless people in the city — which made the Charleswood youth ecstatic.
"Coke is so awesome," Unrau said.
Coca-Cola Canada discovered Unrau and his charity work through its Open Happiness campaign. The company searched the country for young people doing great things.
"We wanted to look for that special story that we thought would inspire others, and Nathan’s story certainly gave us that quality that we were looking for," said Shannon Denny, director of brand communications for Coca-Cola Canada. "We thought it was remarkable that someobody at his age is committed to making a difference and putting smiles on the faces of people in his community."
On Aug. 23 at the Millennium Park Library, Unrau, his parents Elsie and Rohan, and several volunteers handed out lunches, Coca-Cola beverages, and reusable lunch bags with the new Lunches with Love logo.
"I’ve lost count!" Unrau said of the number of lunches handed out.
Coca-Cola helped to make about 2,000 lunches on Aug. 24. The company also provided the Lunches with Love team with vehicles so they could easily deliver them.
Lunches with Love was just supposed to be Unrau’s ticket to We Day, an event of speaking engagements inspiring young people to change the world, last year. At Westdale Junior High, Unrau and his fellow students had to earn their way to the event by doing community service.
So in October of 2012, Unrau created Lunches with Love, packing and delivering 47 lunches for Winnipeg’s less fortunate. Now Lunches with Love has become a full-blown operation which sees Unrau and a team of volunteers prepare and deliver lunches to those who are homeless and don’t have access to food.
"We do this every two weeks on Saturday. We were donated a space at the Heritage Victoria Community Club," Unrau explained.
"I just wanted to help our homeless people. It makes me sad when I see them downtown with nothing but a ripped backpack and ripped clothes," Unrau said.
Unrau and between 30 to 50 volunteers pack about 450 lunches a day, each bag consisting of a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a snack, and a water bottle. Unrau and his team then drop off the lunches at the Main Street Project and homeless shelters, and they also give them directly to people living on the street.
For more information about Lunches with Love, visit their Facebook page.