Packing compassion between two slices of bread, Scott James, founder of Sandwich Party Sunday (SPS), is helping the local homeless population by providing handmade sandwiches on the last Sunday of every month.
A Rhode Island native-turned-Los Angeles resident James alongside friend Ashley were overwhelmed by the hungry homeless population in their new neighborhood back in April 2012 and decided to make sandwiches to support them. James says that “the feeling I got from that experience changed me,” adding, “from time to time we would [make and distribute sandwiches], but it was a struggle to make
SPS officially launched in January 2018 when James took leftover funds from a men’s bowling night to the grocery store. With $125.00 in his pocket, he bought the necessary supplies to feed his neighborhood. It was from there that he began seeking volunteers on Facebook. Thanks to friend Matt, SPS was quickly brought to the Ocean State and alongside James’ brother Justin and friend Pat, they spearheaded the first sandwich party in Rhode Island.
Primarily a source of PB&J sandwiches (with a few alternatives for those with nut allergies), the SPS crew and their volunteers make over 1,500 sandwiches between three locations in Rhode Island and Los Angeles. Then, they distribute them “anywhere we think we’ll find people who are hungry,” explains James. “We find people where they are rather than ask them to come to us.”
Food donations come from local businesses like Arcadia Pizza in West Greenwich and Backyard Food Co. in Warwick, and sandwiches are made at Cellucci’s Martial Arts & Fitness Kickboxing in West Warwick. As for the local response, James states, “the reaction has been great. It’s been nothing but positive. I think having good energy and intention goes a long way.”
As for expansion, SPS is extending its helping hands to Atlanta, Georgia, and Tam- pa, Florida, in the coming weeks. They’re also looking for more volunteers and encourage those interested to send in their volunteer applications via their website. James and the rest of the SPS crew make it clear that they’re not giving handouts – they are “the community taking care of itself.”