Sandwich shop dumpster owner Ashley Jiron has placed a note asking people to come inside the establishment for a free meal. Jiron, owner of the Warr Acres, Okla.-based restaurant P.B. Jams, noticed that someone had been going through the trash looking for food, according to the Inquisitr. That’s when she decided to offer the stranger a meal. P.B. Jams is one of many restaurants around the world that have extended a helping hand to the hungry.
“There’s a sign by the sandwich shop on the dumpster asking the person to come inside for a free meal.”
Jiron posted a sign on the dumpster as well as the restaurant door offering the person a free peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fresh vegetables, and a glass of water, no questions asked, because they are “a human being, and worth more than a meal from a dumpster.”
“I think we’ve all been in that position where we needed someone’s help and we just needed someone to extend that hand and if I can be that one person to extend that hand to another human being then I will definitely do it,” the sandwich shop owner said.
The sandwich shop dumpster owner hasn’t heard from the person, but Jiron is determined to keep the sign up until they do, according to Examiner. She’s realizing that pride and embarrassment could be keeping them away. This has been an issue for other restaurants that attempt to feed those who struggle to afford food.
Panera Bread began offering a pay-what-you-can option for its turkey chili in 2013. The dish had a $5.89 suggested price, but customers were encouraged to pay more if they could afford it so that those who genuinely couldn’t would be able to get the filling meal for less, or for free. However, after an initial surge of interest in the program, customers forgot that it was an option. Many Panera locations are in affluent areas where there were fewer people to benefit from reduced price meals.
However, the sandwich shop dumpster idea has caught on around the world and proven more successful elsewhere, including SAME Cafe in Denver, Colo.; Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, N.J.; Pay As You Please in Killarney, Ireland; and De Culinaire Werkplaats, Amsterdam.
In Philadelphia, Mason Wartman, who owns the Rosa’s Fresh Pizza shop, adopted the policy that, for $1, customers can pay for a slice of pizza for the next person who comes in and cannot afford it. Wartman puts post-it notes on the wall to represent each prepaid slice. Those in need can come in, take a post-it, and trade it for a slice of pizza. Customers have donated 8,500 slices of pizza in the first nine months of the program, and the restaurant feeds 30 to 40 homeless people every day.
According to Wartman, who was interviewed on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in January, the program has created a culture of paying it forward. Some customers who were previously homeless and have since pulled themselves out of extreme poverty have returned to Rosa’s to buy a slice for another in need.
Sandwich shop owners have seen people dumpster diving in their trash from all over the world, from the poorest to the richest places.
In Doha, Qatar, one of the richest places on earth, the restaurant Zaiqa offers free food to those who cannot afford it. Owners Shadab and Nishab Khan, serve a large population of migrant workers in the industrial area of Doha, which fuels the country’s expansion at the expense of the workers who are often not paid on time, or at all.
The brothers have also seen people refuse to take the food for nothing, and are working to make the process of accepting free food less embarrassing for their customers, notes ABC News.
“We are putting a refrigerator outside, so this refrigerator won’t have a lock. It will be facing the road and it will have packets of food with dates on them,” Shadab Khan said. “So anybody who wants to take it, he doesn’t have to come inside.”
A sandwich shop dumpster owner who witnesses people digging through their trash obviously has a heart when they reach out with a free meal. Hopefully, the person who appears to be hungry will accept Ashley’s offer. A dumpster is no place for anyone to eat from.