Mustard, lettuce, a couples of slice of bread: this week's New Yorker is raising awareness and empathy for the city's homeless population with the simple ingredients of a sandwich. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following report.
It started with a simple sandwich, one that photographer Erin Dinan would carry with her as she roamed the City streets, looking to photograph homeless New Yorkers.
"A lot of times, I will just pass by and hand them a sandwich and then there is that moment where you just kind of get each other," she said. "You have that exchange. The photo is just further awareness of that and further confirmation of that moment.
Those snapshots inspired her...inspired her to keep rummaging through her fridge to try to make a difference.
"The number one image that resonated with me was it was a sunny day last spring and I was walking on 16th Street and there was a gentleman digging through the garbage," she said. "He pulled out a scarf, these amazing sunglasses and he just gave them to me and said 'I don’t need these. I am looking for food, I am looking for money. I have lost my job and I don’t have a home anymore.' A lot of us are only one pay check away from being on the streets ourselves."
With that in mind, the non-profit One Sandwich at a Time was born, making not one but hundreds of sandwiches.
Now, Erin is able to deliver 300 to 400 sandwiches to homeless shelters and food pantries every month.
"The vision that people like Erin have is really impressive, you know, to not only have the vision but to then actually execute it and operationalize it," said Stephen Grimaldi of the Yorkville Common Pantry.
"That one sandwich that they make and one minute that they spend making it means more to someone else than they can ever imagine," said Katherine Mackanin, a One Sandwich volunteer. "For Erin, it's about getting out there and actually really helping someone to make a difference."
Erin encourages people to start small and get involved, put together a sandwich and bring it with them as they head out the door.
"The main goal of this was to raise awareness step by step," she says. "It's taught me to be brave. It's taught me to realize that the smallest dream of something that seems so farfetched is really possible.
So, for working to reduce hunger and raise hope, one sandwich at a time. Erin Dinan is our New Yorker of the Week.