Tokens and Toys for the Holidays
Dec 30, 2015
MTG staff gathered on December 18th to meet Alan Law from Minneapolis Recreation Development (MRD). During the holiday season our team collected coins for MRD and toys for the Toys for Tots foundation.
Coin Drive Raises Funds for Bus Tokens
Alan Law, aka the “sandwich man,” founded Minneapolis Recreation Development (MRD) in 1967. For over 48 years, he has volunteered countless hours helping people who are, “stranded on the street with no place to go.”
Law is probably the most sleep-deprived man on the planet. During the night (when shelters are closed) he drives his van around the Twin Cities handing out sandwiches, socks, and bus tokens. Although his efforts are supported by monetary donations and volunteer sandwich makers, he makes all the deliveries himself.
Speaking with MTG staff, Law said his website is called 363days because there’s help for people on Thanksgiving and Christmas, “but people need help the other 363 days of the year too.” By the end of 2015 Law will have distributed 900,000 sandwiches, 7,000 pairs of socks, and approximately $45,000 of bus tokens.
The MTG coin drive raised funds to purchase bus tokens, which MRD buys at a 50% discount from MetroTransit. As a special gift, the company also donated a TomTom GPS to help Law navigate during his long nights of service. People use the tokens for transportation to shelters, and to stay safe and warm during the winter.
In an email thanking MTG staff for their participation, Jared Blundell, charity committee member, expressed his gratitude, “It’s encouraging to know we can make a small difference in several people’s lives through the success of the coin drive.”
Law’s passion for helping others was documented in the inspirational film, “The Starfish Throwers.” The goal of his organization is to feed, and provide emergency assistance to the homeless, who often suffer from mental or physical illness.
To learn about and support MRD, visit 363days.org.
Homelessness in the Twin Cities
In 2012, 6711 people were counted as homeless in the Twin Cities metro, compared to 2,329 in 1991. Low-income individuals and families struggle to find affordable housing in the Twin Cities.
According to the June 2015 “2x4 Report” by the Minnesota Housing Partnership, a total of 8,085 homeless students were identified in four tracked school districts (Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rosemount-Apple-Valley-Eagan, and Duluth). More than 7,000 were in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
MHP’s report Out of Reach 2015 Minnesota looks at the gap between the cost of rental housing and what renters earn. It concludes, “In 2015, there are no Minnesota counties in which one-bedroom apartments are affordable to minimum wage earners.” Follow MHP on Facebook.
MTG Delivers 200+ Toys
Our Toys for Tots drive was a big success! On December 18, Erika Lodin, Kassie Fronk, and Megan Nordstrom delivered over 200 toys to the KARE 11 Toys for Tots Tent.
Toys for Tots’ mission is to collect new and unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute these toys to needy children in the community. Toys for Tots makes incredible use of resources, with over 97% percent of donations going towards furthering their mission– providing toys, books and gifts to children.
Team MTG collected almost twice as many toys this year than last. Donations included kid-pleasing StarWars and Frozen toys as well as cash, which we used to purchase sporting goods and gifts for teens.