An Orrington man is spending his retirement helping Bangor's homeless population get the things they need, including sandwiches.

One day, on my way home, I noticed a sign on my neighbor's truck that says 'The Sandwich Man.' I assumed that Jeff Thoms, who I'd met years ago while working at Snows Corner Store in Orrington, had started his own business. I'd heard that Jeff had been diagnosed with cancer and had retired. Little did I know, until a mutual friend tipped me off, that he was generously donating his time in an incredible way.

How Did Jeff Get Started on His Mission to Feed Bangor's Homeless?

I wanted to know more, so I called Jeff to ask him how he got started. He told me that he has volunteered with an organization called Jericho Road Ministries, for quite some time, as they take supplies to Bangor's homeless population on Mondays. They started out in the Main Street Dunkin parking lot, but have now moved to the Bangor waterfront, where they have more space. Jericho Road Ministries is a collaboration between several area churches, including Thoms' church, Calvary Chapel in Orrington. As a matter of fact, it was Orrington's Pastor Graves who gave Thoms his title as the Sandwich Man.

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Once he retired, Jeff said he wanted to do more. So he started going out every day, Tuesday through Sunday, taking sandwiches to Bangor's homeless population. He gets his sandwiches from a group at the church and the chips are donated by local residents, but I asked him how he knows where to find people in need.

I just go around and look for people. Have kind of a little route, know where they are. There are people that are on the street and people that are couch-surfing. I'll find a place and I can show up and 20 people can come out and you can tell they're all needy.

As time went on, he started delivering more than sandwiches, with help from the folks at the Brick Church on Union Street in Bangor. They keep him supplied with hoodies, water, and personal care items that he can pass out on his rounds.

How Can We Help?

I asked Jeff how people can help him in his mission and he said they can get together with their own church groups and figure out how they can make a difference in their own way. Homelessness is a huge issue, particularly in the Bangor area and it will take the whole community to have an impact. If you'd really like to, specifically, help Jeff, he suggests donating to the Brick Church on Union Street in Bangor.

Thanks, Jeff for making such a huge difference in the lives of some of Maine's most vulnerable residents. The world needs more people like you.

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