#HashtagLunchBag is looking to feed Toledo’s homeless

Written by: Jeremy Baumhower


Needing a little inspiration, I recently posted on Facbook the following message.“I am looking for something positive that is happening or has occurred in this area. Something you believe deserves a little attention and recognition. A story that can be small, but has to be full of unselfish heart… A group or an organization trying to make Toledo a better place to live…”

The post was immediately met with numerous ideas and suggestions, but this one in particular stood out. #Hashtaglunchbag Toledo is a grass roots event happening on July 20th and being organized by Janet Stoll.

So I decided to reach out and find out more about this unique sounding event.

Baumhower: Will you tell me more about what you are doing, where the idea came from? What you are looking for?

Janet Stoll: About a month or so ago I saw this commercial. It was a Wells Fargo commercial that they did with the #hashtaglunchbag people. It just grabbed me. I watched the commercial about 5 more times before I went to bed. I just kept thinking that I can do this. I’m always teaching my kids the importance of giving back, and this seemed like a great project.

#hashtaglunchbag was started on Christmas of 2012 in LA by a group that wanted to give back in their community.

They got together, made sack lunches and handed them out to the homeless in their community. That’s what we are doing here.

Baumhower: Are you working with any officials from an organization?

Stoll: I’m receiving donations, buying stuff myself. Our goal is to put together 500 lunches to hand out to the homeless community in Toledo.
I have reached out to the Cherry Street Mission and Ken Leslie who is a name in helping homeless vets in the community. Unfortunately, I haven’t received a response from Mr. Leslie and the Cherry Street Mission hasn’t been much help either. I only emailed the Cherry Street Mission to get some information as far as where I can find concentrations of homeless people in Toledo and how many people they estimate to be homeless in the Toledo area. We want to help as many people as we can. So I guess the answer is no, we aren’t working with anyone.

Baumhower: Where are you getting the food supplies… ? Donations?

Stoll: We are buying them. I have bought 55 lbs of bologna in the last couple of weeks! I have it stored in every freezer I can find! We did receive a donation of cookies from Subway, as one of my friends manages a Subway, but everything else, we are purchasing. We meaning myself, and any volunteers I have been able to recruit.

Baumhower: What are looking for as far as people wanting to help you?

Stoll: We can use as many hands as we can get! We are able to accept donations of food supplies or money. On the day of the event, a local caterer, Scott Pierce, donated his food safe space at Tree City Catering for us to assemble lunches. Once they are assembled, we will go into the community and hand them out to the homeless. We can use help during any of those steps as well.

Baumhower: Anything else you want Toledo to know about #HashtagLunchBag?

Stoll: I don’t know? This is definitely a kid friendly event we are planning. Anyone can help. My kids are so excited to a part of something bigger than themselves and to be able to give back to the community. I just think it’s really important to give back to your community if you have the ability to. I can’t afford to do this on my own, but with the help of friends and networking, I can do it. I think if you’re really committed to something, you can make anything happen.

If you are interested in learning more about #HashtagLunchbag Toledo and or you want to donate or volunteer, please visit their Facebook Page.


Columnist, Writer for Radio Shows across the US & Canada, Promoter, Believer, Father

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Posted in Baumhower, Facebook, Family, Feels, News, Parenting, Toledo, Video, Viral
10 comments on “#HashtagLunchBag is looking to feed Toledo’s homeless
  1. Terri says:

    Contact Food For Thought.


  2. Tana M. Schiewer says:

    Like the others posted above, I would advise for this woman to get in contact with Food For Thought. “Hashtag Lunchbag” has been happening every Saturday morning in Toledo since 2007 thanks to these fine folks. If I am correct in knowing the current changes (we’ve since moved to Virginia), they are now assembling lunches at their space at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Toledo on Friday evenings, and they meet at the parking lot across the street from the library every Saturday morning. (website: http://www.feedtoledo.org/)

    It is very important for the folks organizing this event to be considerate of the unhoused population. Often, those who mean well will just descend upon the downtown and not fully understand the ins and outs of caring for these wonderful people. Folks like Ken Leslie, Dan Rogers (CMM), and the folks at FFT can help with the navigation of this. Also, another good source: toledostreets.org.

    Best of luck.


    • Janet says:

      I appreciate all of your input. I have been trying to contact both Dan Rogers and Ken Leslie. To date, they’ve chosen not to respond, so we are doing this. Food for Thought is different in that they gather at the same parking lot downtown each time. There are homeless people all over the city, not just in the downtown area. #HashTagLunchbag is a different group that I have affiliated myself with to go into the community. http://hashtaglunchbag.com/

      I didn’t know anything about Food for Thought when I embarked on this, however, what we are doing here is a good thing; even the homeless people that get a lunch at the parking lot downtown on Saturday are going to be hungry again on Sunday. I will contact Food for Thought for further information.

      Again, I appreciate all of your input, Hopefully we will have a successful event and we’ll be able to do it again!

      Thank you!


      • Tana M. Schiewer says:

        Good luck with your event. I do hope you contact some folks at FFT – even a little bit of logistical advice could help! When we got started many years ago, we made a lot of mistakes, but we also benefited from the sage advice of Dan Rogers, Ken Leslie, and others. These folks (including those at FFT) know the unhoused population in Toledo and their needs, and can offer a lot of help. Each town is a little different, so that local knowledge is very valuable.

        Also, for what it’s worth – FFT is well aware that the unhoused are all over the city; in fact, there is a group that ventures out from there and takes lunches to the bus stop and other places as well. And remember it’s about more than hunger! There are lots of places to get meals, but what we were told time and time again throughout the years at FFT is that what the unhoused truly valued was friendship and being acknowledged as fellow human beings.

        Again, good luck with your event!


  3. Mike Stoll says:

    I think what is important here is that someone is taking time out of their life to try to help others. Everyone is a critic. It’s great that there is someone else out there doing something for others as well. There are no regulations on how many can help out the less fortunate. Thankfully there are still people out there who want to. Jeremy posted this as a positive thing happening in toledo. If you want to help out good for thought, great we pass no judgement. Instead of negative, let’s be positive about this. Remember the golden rule, if you have nothing nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all. Thankfully my wife is a strong willed person and not easily discouraged. I’m glad that she is so that people that have nothing better to do than criticize her ideas do not affect her. There are more less fortunate people out there than one organization can handle and I’m proud of my wife for stepping up and organizing this to follow her dreams.


    • Tana M. Schiewer says:

      Hi Mike,

      This was not a critique. I didn’t say your wife was a bad person…I was simply trying to offer some good resources in Toledo that might be able to help her out. I’m sure she is a lovely person with a wonderful heart for the unhoused who has nothing but their needs in mind, and will do everything she can to reach those needs in the best way possible.

      Good luck!


      • Janet says:

        I do have an email in at this time to Food for Thought. I appreciate your input and I hope to have a really good event, and I hope we are able to, if only for a meal or two and a conversation, help the homeless in our community. Thank you again for your advice! 🙂


      • Terrific! I know I’ve said this several times already, but…good luck! 🙂 I hope your event is lovely for everyone!


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Columnist, Writer for Radio Shows across the US & Canada, Promoter, Believer, Father

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