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Volunteers at Not Just Sandwiches Pack Warm Meals for the Hungry

More than 350 home-cooked meals were prepared at Not Just Sandwiches in Warminster and delivered to needy families in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

It was late Sunday night when John Clauss found himself in a bit of a situation. A donation of approximately 150 pies had fallen through, and he had less than a day to find replacement desserts that would make an already admirable effort to feed more than 300 hungry families in the area a complete success.

So, he did what anybody does in 2013 when you need help quickly, he posted on Facebook. Sure enough, by Monday morning Clauss had enough pies on the way to Not Just Sandwiches, where they would be divided and packed up with the rest of the meals for delivery. Donations came from friends and family, including Kim Bell of Warrington, who dropped off a pumpkin pie and an apple pie with her sons, Bryce and Blake.

"I saw John's request last night, and I knew I could help him out," said Bell. "I think it's fantastic what they are doing, providing a home-cooked meal Christmas dinner."

Clauss said the outpouring of aid from the community shows how quickly the efforts by him and the owners of Not Just Sandwiches have exploded since they began organizing food drives for Thanksgiving in 2012 after forming the NJS Charity Fund.

"Last year, we cooked Thanksgiving meals for 100 people," said Clauss. "This year, we fed more than 200 families for Thanksgiving, and more than 350 for Christmas. We just reached out to local schools and churches, and word of mouth grew."

The meals, consisting of either turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mixed vegetables, some bread, and, of course, pie for dessert, were donated from area businesses, including ShopRite of Warminster, JMJ Direct Proforma, JP's Trees, Kenney's Madison Tavern, Shamrock Trucking, Soprano's Pizzeria, Panera Bread, Hatfield Meats and STS Sales & Marketing.

The owners of Not Just Sandwiches, Glen Nagle and Brian Schneck, opened up space in the restaurant's dining room and kitchen for the volunteers to prepare and pack up the meals. 

"We want to help out people in our own neighborhoods," said Nagle. "I don't like it when I see money from America going to help people in other countries. We need to take care of the people in our own communities."

With the holiday season coming to a close, the urge for charitable giving tends to fade away as quickly as the Christmas lights. Clauss wants to break that tradition and continue the efforts throughout the year. He is already planning a spaghetti dinner that will take place sometime in late January/early February at Lehman Memorial United Methodist Church in Hatboro.

"We're just trying to help out people and give back to the community," said Clauss.

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