The SoupMobile, which David “the SoupMan” Timothy started in 2003 by making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches himself, delivers a warm meal to Dallas’s homeless population every day of the year. It also runs 8 group houses intended to shelter homeless citizens until they can find a job and make their own way. And every Christmas, the SoupMobile puts up 500 homeless people in a hotel and gives them gifts and food. (This is an overtly Christian organization, and although I’m not religious, I respect their mission and enjoy volunteering for them.)
One of my Meetup volunteer groups, Random Acts of Kindness, gets together every Saturday morning to make bologna sandwiches for the SoupMobile. Venue issues have made it less consistent lately, but they are meeting this Saturday at Life in Deep Ellum at 10:30 am.
I took some friends to this event for my birthday last year, and they said it was a lot of fun. Even my husband has gone a couple of times, and he never volunteers. I think of it as a game where you’re competing against other tables to see how many sandwiches you can make and package. People get into it. You can bring materials or donate money or just help out. This is also good for older kids.
There is a spiel at the beginning about all the rules; they do want to make sure these sandwiches are safe and decent quality. Then you choose a table, bleach it, gather supplies, and start making sandwiches. I am not normally OCD, but for some reason I get kind of uptight about the sandwich-making process. So if you’re more carefree, you might want to go to someone else’s table! I think it’s easiest to dump out a couple of loaves of bread and put them in an even number of rows, put bologna on one row, cheese on the next row, mustard in the middle, and then fold them over. Otherwise it’s mass chaos. I digress.
If bologna grosses you out, some people also work on putting chips and cookies into bags. You just work until you run out of supplies, which is usually less than an hour and a half. They shoot for 1,500 sandwiches each Saturday, which is only 2.5 days’ worth.
The group also meets on the first and third Fridays of the month at 11:00 am in North Dallas just to package up cookies and chips.
If you want to help the SoupMobile in another way, they need help preparing and delivering food, picking up supplies, and working around the office. You can also shop at their thrift store at 5542 Maple Ave., which is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00-5:00.