Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Good Karma: Sandwiches for the Homeless

Partner with Finnegans and Brave New Workshop to feed the homeless. 

As we enter a season of thanks and giving, I always like to take a pause and try to find ways to pay it forward.

I've been extremely lucky in my life to always have a backup plan of some kind if something went wrong. Sure, it may not have been luxurious or easy - but I've never been in the position of having nowhere to turn for help.

That is unfortunately untrue for many of our neighbors here in Minnesota, where hundreds of thousands are homeless or food insecure. The need for safe spaces to sleep and ready food to eat is especially acute at this time of year, as temperatures drop, snow eliminates the ability to sleep outside, and reminders of the abundance of others is all around.

So, it's the perfect time to pay it forward for a few hours with Happy Hour Squared, an amazing initiative where participants help package sandwiches to feed the hungry for a few hours when they would traditionally be at a happy hour. Attendees can purchase a beer from Finnegans and have the opportunity to donate to their reverse food truck, which collects non-perishable foods and cash for future giving. The entire event is hosted at the Brave New Workshop space on Hennepin Avenue, and attendees are welcome to stay and see the evening's performance there at a discounted price after the Happy Hour Squared event is over.

The initiative has so far delivered over 70,000 sandwiches; the more people pitch in and spread the word, the more likely it is that the program can spread to other bars and cities throughout the country, which is Happy Hour Squared's ultimate goal. And if you can't make it this Thursday, November 17 (the next time Happy Hour Squared is being hosted), no worries; they repeat this event every month on the third Thursday of the month from 5- 7 p.m.

The sandwiches are distributed by Allan Law, who is famous for driving out every single night (yes that's not an exaggeration - he really does go EVERY NIGHT) between 9 and 10 p.m. to distribute sandwiches to homeless people he finds around the streets in Minneapolis. The results of this deceptively simple effort are staggering; Law has delivered nearly $500,000 worth of food over 175,000 hours of volunteering, just by himself. You can find more information by going to his page here.

There's a full event web page where you can get more details straight from the horse's mouth, which you can find by clicking on this link. I highly encourage you to consider going - it's such an easy, fun way to give back! And it feels really good to do something positive for your community, particularly at a time when everyone's feeling a little fraught over the election results. A recurring event page is up at the Compendium calendar page - feel free to add it to your own calendar to remind you to come.

A word about Finnegans: Finnegans is a delicious, locally produced beer from Minnesota's 10th largest brewing company. All proceeds from purchased brews are reinvested back into the community to feed the hungry, which so far has resulted in  a total impact of more than $800,000 donated. Finnegans is still hoping to have 2016 be the year that total exceeds $1 million, and I believe we can do it! You can see an infographic about how their system works here

A word about Brave New Workshop: Brave New Workshop has been a cornerstone of the comedic community in the Twin Cities for more than 58 years. The club includes live comedy performances, community outreach, classes for corporations, improve and public speaking courses, and more. They have a long history of civic engagement and are one of the most affordable, relaxed places around to find entertainment. I saw my first performance at Brave New Workshop a few months ago - check out my thoughts by reading my review here. 

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