Students Give Up Lunch Time To Feed Others

Carrie Hodousek
December 21, 2019 - 10:07 am

Every week, reporter Carrie Hodousek profiles ordinary people doing extraordinary things to make the Bay Area a better place to live and work for the series Difference Makers.

An East Bay teacher has set an ambitious goal for his students to make 10,000 lunches for the homeless each year.

Brett Lorie, a math teacher at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, formed the non-profit 10,000 Lunches a few years ago with a group of parents to teach kids how simple it is to give back.

“One of the things that I realized was that kids want to help, but don’t always have an avenue to help, so this is something very tangible that they can do,” Lorie said.

The students give up their lunch period every Friday afternoon to make peanut butter sandwiches, turkey and cheese sandwiches, as well as bag other helpful items like socks and hand warmers.

“It makes us feel really good that we’re doing this for a good cause for people who don’t have as much as we do,” said one student.

Lorie and the parents deliver the bagged lunches every Saturday to homeless encampments in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

“It’s not just about us delivering food to the homeless,” said parent Matt Vattuoni. “It’s about connecting the kids to a need out there that, in our community, you don’t see a lot.”

One student told KCBS Radio he makes lunches because “this could be one of their only meals of the day.”

“To me, it’s fine to give up my lunch to give somebody else a lunch,” said another student.

Lorie said the small gesture is already creating powerful human connections in the homeless community.

“I think the food almost becomes secondary at that point,” he said. “If our kids can start to recognize the power that they have to have that effect on people, then I think that has the power to lead them in a good direction.”

If you know someone who is making a positive impact in the community and would like to nominate them as a KCBS Difference Maker, e-mail