Eleven boys going into grade eight at Heritage Middle School in Livingston, who call themselves “The Sandwich Boys,” have met 12 times since January 2021 to make sandwiches for the food insecure. It started out as a way to get together and stave off loneliness while safely masked outdoors during the pandemic and has continued as things have gone back to semi-normal. Even though the boys have had Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and sports schedules to juggle, they have been able to continue to get together to make sandwiches and plan to continue to do so this fall. The Sandwich Boys include Seth Baskies, Nate Black, Korey Ellenbogen, Matthew Fleishman, Matthew Handler, Evan Hermann, Jack Klein, Sammy Kritzer, Ryan Laveman, Jake Wolin, and Alan Yaari.
Moms Robyn Laveman and Gwen Hermann who helped the boys organize the endeavor, say they are “really proud of the boys” and that by the third time the boys got together, the boys didn’t really even need their help anymore because they had a good understanding of what needed to be done and ran a strong assembly line.
Ryan says, “It means a lot to help people who don’t have access to food all the time. I know that I am lucky to have everything that I have, and it feels good to help others who are not as fortunate and deserve to have a good meal.” “My favorite part of the project is hanging out with my friends and knowing I am helping others,” says Evan. In the beginning, the boys, who make about 50 sandwiches at a time, made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which was switched up to cheese sandwiches in the latter get togethers.
They package up the sandwiches with bags of chips, cookies, and a beverage. Nick Santinelli, a Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors volunteer, delivers the sandwiches and any extra supplies to the homeless for the boys. The moms of the boys involved donate the supplies to the cause.
Robyn and Gwen say that many of the boys including their sons Evan and Ryan have incorporated the sandwich making endeavors into their Bar Mitzvah service projects. In fact, they shared that some of the boys involved did so too. “It was nice to sit through many of the Bar Mitzvahs and hear the boys talk about their sandwich making,” they shared.
“The boys really enjoy making the sandwiches and begin asking to get together to do so after a few weeks go by from the last sandwich making effort,” says Robyn. “It is nice to see how onboard they are with it and how self sufficient they are,” says Gwen. “They have really taken ownership of it.”