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#HashtagLunchbag helps feed the homeless in Salt Lake City

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Posted at 7:15 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 21:15:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Hashtags are used to group all kinds of things on social media, like hobbies, politics, and news.

But on Sunday a hashtag brought like-minded people together to make a difference in our community.

The idea for #HashtagLunchbag began a few years ago in Los Angeles on Christmas, but the campaign was helping to feed homeless people in Salt Lake City Sunday. The effort is part of a national movement.

"It's really designed to create an innovative way to being awareness to local hunger issues, as well as feed up to 200 people at a time,” Co-organizer Ian Shelledy said.

The food comes from Even Stevens sandwiches.

“For every sandwich that we sell, we donate one to a local non-profit in the community" Sarah Day of Even Stevens said.

And the publicity comes from the hashtag.

“It makes it really easy to get the message out in a really fast and effective way,” Shelledy said.

Even Stevens certainly has sandwich-making down, and this isn't the organizer's first event. But when you gather your labor force based on a hashtag, things can get a little unpredictable.

“Last time we had over a hundred people show up; we were little, like OK, alright, so now we know how to handle flow, but, it's been really good," Day said.

The sandwiches are delivered by volunteers after a hand-written inspirational note is tacked on, and they end up in grateful hands

“I thought it was wonderful being out here, and they were able to come down here and help out a lot of unfortunate people out here today,” said Thomas Charles, who received a lunchbag.

“Hashtag Lunchbag is just a group of friends getting together to make lunches, spread some positivity, it's nothing too formal, and that's what I really loved about it,” one participant said.

Sunday’s goal was 200 sandwiches, a mark they surpassed by 50. What was surprising was how quickly they ran out. The group is now considering ideas for distributing other donations for the homeless community, like socks and underwear.

For more on #HashtagLunchbag, visit their website.