When Mike Vincent got his $600 pandemic relief check he decided to give it away to people less fortunate. He and his wife started packing lunches -- hundreds of them.
“It’s not like we’re rich or anything, but we don’t have to worry about being homeless,” said Vincent as he, his wife Gayle and her mother and brother slathered pieces of bread with peanut butter and jelly.
Friends of the Vincents were doing the same thing inside their homes as they prepared a total of 400 sandwiches to put inside 200 lunch bags containing water, fruit, chips and brownies.
It will be the fifth time Vincent’s crew of volunteers has done this, and the third time the lunches will be delivered via motorcycle.
The first couple of times, Mike and Gayle delivered the meals themselves out of their car, but after Mike put out a call to fellow motorcycle enthusiasts the delivery process got more unique.
“The homeless people are always asking about the bikes. They love to talk to us,” said Vincent. “They’re very grateful to get meals and they like to talk about the bikes and stuff so I think it’s just good for everybody.”
Gayle recalled one trip to Downtown San Diego where one of the motorcyclists told Gayle a man he gave a lunch to started crying. The delivery driver said the man’s reaction made him cry, and when he told Gayle, she cried, too.
The couple agreed that helping those less fortunate is personally rewarding for both the givers and the receivers.
It’s so rewarding that the couple now gets donations of food and money to keep the program going. One of the drivers who will be doing deliveries Saturday was once homeless. He now works at Fiddler’s Green Restaurant, which baked the brownies for Saturday’s delivery of 200 lunches.
Mike Vincent, who used to work on the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s transport team, has seen a lot of people during traumatic times.
“Going from that to this is totally different,” he said, but it gives you a feeling of accomplishment to help people in their toughest times.”
The Vincents say they plan to keep delivering meals to the homeless for as long as the donations keep coming in.
“It feels good to do it. It’s very rewarding, and if I can keep doing it, I will," he said.