Just beyond Charlotte’s shiny skyscrapers, a tent city has become part of the landscape outside Urban Ministry Center (Roof Above) in uptown. Homeless people sleeping in tents is nothing new, but the need for shelter has grown as the pandemic settles in on a city where the affordable housing and mental health crises have already taken hold.
Once the pandemic hit Charlotte, homeless shelters were forced to reduce their numbers to practice social distancing in the hope of avoiding a Covid-19 outbreak. The city is also following the CDC’s recommendation to not remove tents during this time of great economic disruption.
It is dispiriting to witness our fellow community members in survival mode, unfiltered, and on display. Our community has responded with an outpouring of donations, volunteerism, and acts of kindness. The Urban Ministry Center’s parking lot is often full of volunteers and employees working, despite the risks, to help those in need.
Trinity, too, has responded. Trinity’s Operation Sandwich Team is a group of Trinity members and their friends and neighbors who are making sandwiches and non-perishable lunches for Urban Ministry Center. UMC is providing anywhere from 300 – 500 lunches per day to our homeless neighbors.
For one recent delivery, 17 families participated in making more than 500 sandwiches and over 100 non-perishable lunches for UMC. Operation Sandwich collects sandwiches and non-perishable lunches for delivery every other Thursday.
Are you interested in joining the Operation Sandwich Team? The team is open to anyone who wants to help! Please contact us online via our website to get more information.
Trinity Operation Sandwich Guidelines
- Use white or soft whole wheat bread, no heels please. Thicker bread works best to prevent crushing.
- For meat sandwiches, use ham, turkey, roast beef or bologna. Please use your best judgment on the number of slices per sandwich. We are looking to serve hearty sandwiches. Neighbors also like a slice of cheese on their sandwiches; please include if your budget allows. If you must choose between making fewer sandwiches and making better sandwiches, please choose better! Think about the sandwich YOU would like to eat at lunch.
- No mayonnaise or mustard on the sandwiches. Individual packets of condiments are very much appreciated.
- Please do not add lettuce or tomato.
- Peanut butter & jelly is also a popular choice. However, they do not store as well as other sandwiches. Please limit number of PBJ to under 100, bag them individually and make sure they are delivered soon after making them.
- The neighbors love egg salad!
- Pimento cheese is NOT well received by the neighbors.
- It is ideal to put sandwiches in individual baggies. Please feel free to use the least-expensive sandwich bags — no need for zip locks. You can stack the assembled sandwiches inside the bread bag. Labeling sandwich content facilitates distribution to those with food allergies or religious food practices.
- Please keep meat/cheese sandwiches refrigerated.
Non-perishable Bag Lunches
- Place each lunch in a one-gallon zip lock bag.
- Add a bottle of water or a drink and a napkin. Wipes are appreciated.
- Include a non-perishable meat source, such as an individual packet of tuna, Vienna sausages, or beanie-weenies, along with appropriate utensils.
- Add a fruit source, such as a fruit cup, apple or easily peeled orange.
- You can include chips, crackers and dessert. Foods must be sturdy and not easily crushable.
Transport and Delivery
- Please place your contribution in a box to ease transport and delivery. A box with a closed top facilitates transport.