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.