Thressa Schultz, Jenna DiFrischia and Lauryn Vaumer have been going to Twin Oaks Middle School guidance counselor Sarah Loechler’s office pretty much every day for a few weeks now. The three eighth-grade girls are pretty much always smiling. They’re Loechler’s student task force for the school’s big upcoming project.
That project: sandwiches.
It’s all explained in a promotional video the girls made themselves with the help of their classmates. The entire thing is peppered with upbeat rock music, hallway shenanigans, cartwheels and the obligatory minute-long blooper reel at the end.
It may be a little cheesy, but there’s no baloney here. Between fluffy slices of goofing off and smiling, there’s a meaty center featuring Loechler, in her office, explaining the mission.
The Sandwich Project is designed to help feed the metro area’s homeless. Volunteers make simple sandwiches — white meat, cheese and two slices of bread — which are delivered to homeless shelters and food shelves.
“A lot of people think, ‘We live in Prior Lake,’ and assume everybody has money,” Loechler said. “But they don’t.”
While giving to causes like homelessness is popular around the holidays, there’s always a shortage on the other end of the calendar, when not as many people are thinking about helping those less fortunate. Today, the Sandwich Project estimates that it feeds 4,500 people per week.
The girls’ video was placed proudly at the top of the project’s Gofundme.com page. After just one day, it had raised $175.
Thressa, who besides this project gives her time and energy volunteering with 4H, Community Education and the Student Council, is just as excited about the project in real life as she is on camera.
“It’s a struggle when you see people and know they’re in need,” she said. “It kind of gives you an energy to know you’re doing this for other people.”
Jenna and Lauryn are also no strangers to volunteer work. They go to the same church and do packing events at Feed My Starving Children together. When asked why the community should help out with the Sandwich Project, the girls answered, practically in unison:
“Because it’s an awesome cause!”
But it will take some work, and in spite of the dynamos already involved, some more help. In all, they’re hoping to raise $4,000 to help with sandwich supplies, delivery, plastic gloves and antibacterial lotion. The three girls have been working like crazy to make that happen. Every time they stop in at Loechler’s office, they have a new update: businesses they called to help out with supplies, funds raised with a booth at parent-teacher conferences, ideas for booking various nights at restaurants as donation events.
At the end of the month, the moment of truth arrives. On May 29, Twin Oaks Middle School’s 280 eighth-grade students will crowd into the gym, wash their hands, don plastic gloves and set up massive assembly lines for sandwich making.
The goal is a minimum of 5,000 sandwiches — or as many as they can afford to make. Loechler said that could be as many as 10,000.
“We’ll aim for a million,” Thressa said.