Any Sandwich Will Help | Teen Ink

Any Sandwich Will Help MAG

January 27, 2014
By Daniel Nowak BRONZE, Middle Village, New York
Daniel Nowak BRONZE, Middle Village, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“Can I get thirty six-inch sandwiches? All with turkey, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. And thirty water bottles as well?”

The Subway employee squints in disbelief at me – a 16-year-old boy buying $90 worth of sandwiches. He gives me a short, silent stare in a “let's be real” moment. I take out my wallet and say, “I'm legit!” Once ready and paid for, all 30 sandwiches get packed into my big mountain-climbing backpack, and I set off on my journey. Not to the Alps, but to Fifth Avenue.

Many homeless people have alcohol or drug addictions. Last year at Christmas time, as I was walking home from school, I noticed a homeless man covered in a blanket. I had seen him sitting in that same spot next to the drugstore for a long time. Feeling sympathetic and wanting to offer him a Christmas gift, I tossed a $20 bill into his cup, which contained only change. The next day, I saw two packs of Marlboro Reds in his lap.

I still wanted to help the homeless, but not by financing their addictions. Food, water, and shelter are the three key necessities. Since I do not have the capability to buy a condo and give them shelter, food and water are my two options – which brings me to my current mission.

Fifth Avenue, 7 p.m. People are rushing through the crowded streets as I slowly walk with my heavy backpack. My eyes are darting back and forth, trying to spot a homeless man on the sidewalk. Thirty meters ahead, I see a man across the street sitting on the ground in old clothes with a sign reading, “Every Penny Helps.”

I cross the street.

“I got you some food,” I say shyly.

“That's great. Thanks, man,” the thirty-something man responds in a raspy voice. I open my bag and take out a sandwich and a bottle of water, along with snacks from my house.

“Do you do this often?” he asks.

“It's my third time,” I reply as I hand him the sandwich. “How long have you been out here?”

“Twelve years,” he replies. My brows rise. I did not even know my ABC's twelve years ago.

“Would you happen to have a cigarette by any chance?” he murmurs.

“I don't smoke, but have a good one,” I say as I zip my bag and head off. The packs of Marlboro Reds bought by the guy on the corner come to mind. If I had given this man money, he too might have chosen to fill his body with nicotine rather than food.

Two hours and 40 blocks later, my bag is almost empty. I am wearing a short-sleeved shirt, and I start getting goosebumps from the chilly breeze. Soon I will be home and warm, but the homeless don't have that luxury. With the winter soon to come, blankets and clothes will be on the necessity list, along with sandwiches and water. Yet right now, I continue my journey with two sandwiches left. At the end of the block, I notice a man huddled up on the sidewalk holding a cardboard sign that reads, “Any Dollar Will Help.” To me, it says “Any Sandwich Will Help.”

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This article has 8 comments.

on Nov. 27 2015 at 11:49 am
writer-violist DIAMOND, Jenks, Oklahoma
63 articles 4 photos 84 comments

Favorite Quote:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Great job! Please keep writing and God bless! :)

on Oct. 7 2015 at 2:32 pm
LittleRedDeliriousPrince SILVER, Parma Heights, Ohio
7 articles 0 photos 100 comments
Amazing I love it

Pow-Pow GOLD said...
on Sep. 30 2014 at 7:13 pm
Pow-Pow GOLD, Hemet, California
10 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”


on Sep. 25 2014 at 12:48 pm
littlepiepschuim PLATINUM, Las Vegas, Nevada
22 articles 2 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

I love this so much. I remember going to Chicago and giving a homeless man money, and he kept following me and harrassing me, trying to get me to give him more money. It scared me a lot, but it didn't deter me. It still breaks my heart to think of all the people who have no home. What you did is amazing and beautiful, great job(:

i luv bacon said...
on Sep. 22 2014 at 10:46 am
i see alot of homeless people and it makes me sad

on Sep. 20 2014 at 8:54 pm
Olivia-Atlet ELITE, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri
325 articles 10 photos 1165 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To these the past hath its phantoms,
More real than solid earth;
And to these death does not mean decay,
But only another birth"
- Isabella Banks

This is really amazing, and many people don't care about the homeless. :( Thank you so much for sharing your great and heartwarming story, it brings me to joyful tears knowing that someone as youbng as you has a heart. This generation may be saved yet. CX

mariana said...
on Sep. 9 2014 at 4:32 pm
so nice .I like it and you did well when you give  him sandwhies instead of money.

on Sep. 6 2014 at 2:04 pm
Xena_Zionne GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
16 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.” -Marilyn Monroe

I live in Chicago, and pass a lot of homeless people on my way home from highschool. I get out late so i'm always finishing up a snack when i see them. I feel bad that I don't have any food left so I keep a few snacks in my bag, but on the days that I'm most prepared it's like they aren't around. This article is amazing. You deserve a standing ovation.    I am inspired. - Caramel