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A Happy Hour with A Purpose

November 21, 2014 10:00 am

Brave New Workshop and Finnegans team up to fight hunger Volunteers have made more than 15,000 sandwiches for people in need as part of Happy Hour Squared — a new monthly event organized by the Brave New Workshop (BNW) and the charitable beer company Finnegans. Teams assemble bologna sandwiches for Allan Law’s 363 Days Food Program […]

Brave New Workshop and Finnegans team up to fight hungerhh2girl

Volunteers have made more than 15,000 sandwiches for people in need as part of Happy Hour Squared — a new monthly event organized by the Brave New Workshop (BNW) and the charitable beer company Finnegans.

Teams assemble bologna sandwiches for Allan Law’s 363 Days Food Program in BNW’s theater on Hennepin every third Thursday of the month. Law spends his nights on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul handing out sandwiches to the homeless.

Finnegans’ Reverse Food truck parks outside BNW during the events, collecting cash donations and non-perishable food items for local hunger relief efforts.

John Sweeney, co-owner of the comedy improv theater, said he was inspired to launch the charitable events after Finnegans founder Jacquie Berglund came up with the Reverse Food Truck idea earlier this year and he saw local filmmaker Jesse Roesler’s documentary, “The Starfish Throwers.” The film highlights the work of Law and two other people passionate about fighting hunger around the world.

“Everyone likes to go to happy hour after work and talk about their day,” Sweeney said. “What if in addition to doing that they went to happy hour and did something good for their community? Happy Hour Squared is just that simple.”

Berglund said it’s a perfect fit for Finnegans and comedy theater to collaborate on the outreach work.

“I never cease to be amazed by the creativity of the folks at the BNW,” she said. “We are thrilled to be part of Happy Hour Squared. It is totally mission aligned and it provides our Finnegans team of volunteers a hands on way to help alleviate hunger in our community.”

Sweeney has started talking with other local bars about hosting similar charitable happy hours. His ultimate goal is to get a worldwide liquor distributor launch the idea at venues all over the world.

“We’d love to see millions of bars around the globe celebrating happy hour while doing a community service project at the same time,” Sweeney said. “It could be making sandwiches like we’re doing at HH2, or simply accepting donations.”

The Brave New Workshop orders sandwich materials from CobornsDelivers for the happy hours. Donations from volunteers and bar sales during the event help pay for the sandwich ingredients.

During a Happy Hour Squared event Oct. 16, Law passed out information about his hunger relief work to volunteers. He drives around the Twin Cities every night in a van, passing out sandwiches made by volunteers. In 2013 his 363 Days Food Program handed out more than 500,000 sandwiches to people in need. More than 500 community groups organized sandwich-making events with volunteers ranging in age from 7 to 97.

Nancee Magistad, a student at the Brave New Workshop’s improvisational school who lives in Blaine, was one of about 80 who volunteered at the October event. She said despite a hectic day at work, she was eager to help make sandwiches. “I couldn’t wait to be here,” she said.

Amy Archambault of Rush City came to Happy Hour Squared with her husband and four children. She said her family is a fan of service projects.

When her daughter Alana, 7, was asked how many sandwiches she had made, she replied: “Too many to count.”

Jenni Lilledahl, co-owner of the Brave New Workshop Theatre, said Happy Hour Squared is a “brilliant example of making a molehill out of a mountain.”

“We’re allowing people to give just a little, in a very fun and easy way, and the collective little makes a big impact,” she said. “With already more than 15,000 sandwiches delivered, John’s vision to scale this globally is already proving itself a worthy idea.”

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Get Involved: 

Next Happy Hour Squared event: Thursday, Nov. 20, 5–7 p.m.

Where: Brave New Workshop, 824 Hennepin Ave.

What: Events are held every third Thursday of the month. Volunteers make sandwiches to fight hunger in the community.

Online: facebook.com/HappyHourSquared

 

 

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