A new documentary is in the works to show how one Minnesota man's generosity is inspiring others to help. Allan Law's full-time, unpaid labor of love can be seen on the streets of Minneapolis in St. Paul.
Law is on track to hand out 700,000 sandwiches this year. He works with church groups and businesses to get the food to those who need it, and at night, he goes to the street in person to try and help anyone who needs it.
When real estate prices keep creeping upward and unemployment numbers go down, it can be hard to believe that homelessness and hunger still persists in Minnesota -- but Law says he will keep reminding those of the very present need one sandwich at a time.
"People say, 'You're crazy,' and I say, 'No. If I was homeless, or if I had a couple little kids that needed food or something, I would appreciate someone coming, giving a helping hand,'" he said.
As an unwed, retired school teacher without children, Law has 17 freezers in his Edina apartment that are packed with thousands of sandwiches.
"Most of these are going to be turkey, bologna and cheese," he said.
Volunteers with local groups and businesses make the sandwiches that Law picks up in his minivan every single day. At night, he then enters a world that many either haven't seen or try to avoid.
"The shelters kind of fill up, but then you still have people that don't want to live and sleep in a room with 150 people," Law explained. "Then, they'll stay outside. Then, you have people with psychological problems."
Law tries to fill the gap by delivering sandwiches to shelters as well as the homeless men and women he meets, even handing out clothing and bus tokens.
"Probably the biggest need other than food is just showing homeless people … that someone cares," he said.
What starts with a sandwich transitions into questions:
- What can I do for you?
- What do you need right now?
- How can I help get your life back on track?
His tireless effort caught the attention of Jesse Roesler, a documentary filmmaker with Minneapolis-based Bolster creative.
"We started this film following him, and seeing his story is what really inspired me to go out and find other stories around the world," Roesler said.
That inspiration culminated in a film called "The Starfish Throwers," which showcases Law's work along with a chef in India and a 6th-grade student in South Carolina who is fighting hunger in an innovative way.
Roesler and his team at Bolster Creative were so inspired, in fact, they decided to become part of the solution by making 300 sandwiches for a pick-up.
Even though his story will soon hit screens, Law is a little camera shy -- and his 96-year-old father, Lornell, doesn't expect silver screen stardom to stop his efforts.
"From a little guy, he was always giving and always taking care of the ones that needed help," Lornell Law said.
Yet, the sandwich man himself credits his faith as the motivation to keep on giving and loving others.
"All it takes is just a little bit to change a lot of things," he said.
At 68, nothing appears to be stopping him -- not even a round with prostate cancer earlier this year or lingering arthritis.
"I sleep one to two hours a night," he said.
Much more of Law's story is captured in the documentary, which is expected to premier next year .