Detroit’s sandwich-making hall of famers

by Jonathan Tostige Ruthberg

Mike Palmer places one sandwich on top of the other while another volunteer trails behind, filling bread bags with the finished ham sandwiches. Seven other people are spread throughout the room to make thousands of sandwiches. A longtime volunteer for the Bed & Bread Club®, Mike has experience
helping feed hungry and homeless families from the Bed & Bread trucks and now feels compelled to serve in any way he can.

“What began as a financial donation several years ago has become one of my favorite ways to share God’s love with the community,” he said.

His friend, Lou Jermont, agrees. “I get rewarded 10 times more by being here than by only giving money. We’ve been out on the truck, and it’s tough to see people in desperate situations. As I make the sandwiches now, I see the faces of the people we give the sandwiches to. That makes me want to come back and do it more.”

Another of Lou’s close friends, couple Lee and Dave, echo the sentiment. After hearing about the program through Lou, they decided to come help.

“Now, our Tuesday afternoon crew is a fellowship of varying backgrounds. We share about each other and enjoy being here doing something for someone else,” said Lou.

Aurora, who has volunteered as a bellringer for the past five years, is here simply because she loves volunteering. “My church encourages us to help, and volunteering feels good, too,” she said. “I retired last year, so I have the time.”

Father and son duo Pat and Everett round out the group. Pat explained, “My daughter works here, and she was telling me about how the program feeds people in need, and I said, ‘Do you have room for two more?’ We just like to contribute and do our part.”

Every day of the year, regardless of weather or holidays, the Bed & Bread Club truck drivers make their way through Detroit, traveling multiple routes and making 57 stops to feed the hungry. Last year nearly 1.6 million meals were served through the Bed & Bread Club.

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