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Stories From Main Street: White Plains Man Launches 10,000 PB&Js To Help The Homeless

Volunteer: 'How Do You Not Feel Good When You Help Other People'
Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street – Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A man from White Plains is on a mission to help New York City’s homeless, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a time.

WCBS 880′s Sean Adams reported, in 2012, P.J. Collins had an epiphany and started 10,000 PB&Js.

“Making 50 sandwiches, it would take me a while without help and I’d drive down to the Lower East Side and go to Tompkins Square Park. For a lot of people, the food – they see us coming and their hands go out. They’re starving. But for just as many people, this is about companionship,” Collins told Adams.

After going solo helping the homeless for six months, he decided to recruit some friends.

Every Sunday night, Collins loads his SUV with loaves of bread and large jars of peanut butter and jelly and transforms his family’s bar, Patrick’s Pub in White Plains, into a PB&J assembly line.

“One side of the table’s working peanut butter, the other side’s working jelly and they make the sandwiches, we move them down the line,” Collins told Adams.

They make about 500 sandwiches and pack bags with water bottles and chocolates. Then, they drive to Manhattan and go from the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side delivering the sandwiches.

“There’s people that we encounter that are digging through the garbage for food. And for those people, the food is number one, they appreciate it but they’re starving. And then there’s people that they might not necessarily be starving, but companionship is huge,” said Collins.

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Lawyer Marisa Wooldridge said she volunteers religiously and sacrifices a good night’s sleep to pitch in.

“How do you not feel good when you help other people. It definitely makes everything else worth it,” she told Adams. “It’s not as much about the food as it is with the empathy and reaching people and reaching out to someone who we walk by every day and we don’t see.”

Patrick’s Pub has closed, but Collins said that does not mean the end of 10,000 PB&Js.

“We have friends that have other bars in town so most likely the outreach will end up, as far as Westchester goes, in a White Plains bar. But we’re looking to grow eventually in the city,” said Collins.

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