RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of people in Central Virginia live in poverty. They have no place to call home, and they have no idea where their next meal will come from. Many of them have made Monroe Park in Richmond their gathering spot.
"This is where the homeless people meet who are hungry,” said one man who visits the park often.
"It’s hard sometimes, you feel like the whole world has forgot about you, and you try not to forget about yourself," said one woman who didn't want to give her name.
That tough reality is the very reason a group of volunteers known as #HashtagLunchBagRichmond meet monthly at the park. Every third Saturday they use their own money to buy supplies to feed the hungry.
K.J. Cook, a Richmond native, is the coordinator. "Everyone goes through hardships, everyone has down times," he said.
Cook said he knows what it's like to struggle and the importance of giving back.
The sandwich making is important, but the task serves a greater purpose. Packed inside each brown bag is a seed of hope: sticky notes with kind words and notes of encouragement decorate the outside of the bags.
"When you grow up in poverty you have a different sense of compassion and you understand the struggle a little bit more... sometimes you don’t really need help, you just need to know someone cares… you know someone loves you," Cook said.
Once the bags are made the group hand delivers them to people at Monroe Park. The kind gesture is well received.
"Put a smile on my face and motivates you to keep going... It means a lot… it means someone is thinking about us," said one woman who didn't want to be identified.
You can find volunteer information for HashTagLunchBag here.
Here are a list of other organizations that also help the homeless: