Serv­ing up slices of hope to needy

Vol­un­teers hand out 2,000 lunches

SundayXtra - - ONCE OVER - — Elise Un­rau By Oliver Sach­gau

‘ It started as a sand­wich, it’s turned into hu­man con­nec­tion’

A Win­nipeg teen’s ef­forts to bring love and hope to the home­less through sand­wiches is get­ting him some national recog­ni­tion.

Nathan Un­rau, 13, was at Siloam Mis­sion on Satur­day to hand out 600 lunches he and other vol­un­teers made for his non- profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, Lunches with Love. Siloam was one of three stops for Un­rau. In to­tal, he dropped off about 2,000 lunches to dif­fer­ent home­less shel­ters.

Un­rau said he started Lunches with Love in Oc­to­ber 2012, be­cause he wanted to par­tic­i­pate in We Day, a yearly event where youth are only al­lowed to at­tend if they have con­trib­uted to their com­mu­nity in some way.

“You had to earn your way there by do­ing com­mu­nity ser­vice, so I thought this was a great idea, to raise aware­ness for the home­less,” he said. He brought the idea to his mother, Elise Un­rau, and to­gether they made their first batch of 47 sand­wiches, which they brought to the Main Street pro­ject. Elise Un­rau said the idea grew af­ter they saw how im­por­tant their work was.

“We couldn’t go back to our Charleswood home in win­ter, in Oc­to­ber, start our fire­place and warm up while some­one else was liv­ing out there,” she said.

Elise Un­rau said af­ter they started their Face­book page, peo­ple be­gan com­ing to them to help with the lunches.

“All of a sud­den peo­ple started find­ing us, and giv­ing us stuff,” she said.

Even­tu­ally they moved to bring­ing lunches twice a month, some­thing they still do now. In to­tal, Un­rau said, they have de­liv­ered about 10,000 lunches since Oc­to­ber.

Lunches with Love even­tu­ally got so big it at­tracted the at­ten­tion of Coca- Cola, who asked Un­rau to be a part of one of their national cam­paigns. To­gether, they made the lunches, and de­liv­ered them to the three Win­nipeg shel­ters on Satur­day.

Colin Fo­ran, in charge of com­muntiy and donor re­la­tions at Siloam Mis­sions, said lunches brought by vol­un­teers are cru­cial for the mis­sion.

“On a day like to­day where we have trou­ble get­ting vol­un­teers. This has been a God­send. Over 80 per cent of our food is do­nated... so when some­body like Nathan can come along and pro­vide this, it frees up valu­able re­sources,” he said.

Terry Weay­mouth was one of those who took part in the lunch. He said he’s re­lied on the shel­ter for food since Fe­bru­ary, and the ser­vice the shel­ter pro­vides is im­por­tant for him and oth­ers. “It’s ei­ther this or rob,” he said. Weay­mouth said he wishes more peo­ple would vol­un­teer their time, not just for cam­paigns.

“What about to­mor­row, what about the next week? We’re still go­ing to need lunch... It doesn’t have to be mone­tary. It can just be your time,” Weay­mouth said.

Nathan Un­rau said he is grate­ful for all the vol­un­teers who have joined him, and all those who have been spread­ing the word about his ef­forts.

“It’s re­ally amaz­ing to see th­ese peo­ple car­ing about the home­less. I’m re­ally thank­ful to the me­dia for giv­ing us at­ten­tion,” he said.

Elise Un­rau said she is thank­ful for all the vol­un­teers, and amazed with how far Nathan’s pro­ject has gone.

“It started as a sand­wich, it’s turned into hu­man con­nec­tion,” she said.


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