'The Muffin Man' on Mission to Feed the Homeless & Wants You to Join Him


Why are home-baked muffins far superior to any you could buy at your local grocery store? Because of the time, effort, and love put into them.

Five years ago, Jacob Kaufman, 36, of San Francisco, California was inspired by his father to try his hand at baking muffins from scratch. The batch was delicious and Kaufman enjoyed himself.

I don’t know about you, but the main reason I won’t take up baking is because I’ll eat it. This health-conscious man of compassion looked at the remaining 11 muffins and wondered what he could do with them instead.

The following day he walked to work and passed out the remaining muffins to the homeless people he passed. Their delight warmed his heart and sparked an idea that has become a national event.

The next weekend Kaufman baked two dozen muffins and handed them out on a Sunday. Again, he was well-received, particularly when recipients found out he’d made the muffins himself.

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More than food, Kaufman believes that the direct connection to our homeless communities is important. “One of the hardest things about being homeless is that people treat you like you’re invisible and people want to avoid interaction,” Kaufman told Inside Edition.

“When I started handing out muffins, I would force myself to find and engage and see people in the homeless community. One guy said, ‘Thank you for seeing me as a human being.’”

I’m guilty of this — I have no problem handing over spare change; I even bought some McDonald’s for a man lingering at a drive-thru. But I’m shy and look to avoid making an actual connection — I even feel guilty for what I have and find myself avoiding eye contact.

Kaufman suggests that supplying a material need isn’t the end of it. We need to take the time to actually see and make connections with this population that’s invisibly coexisting in all of our communities.

After repeating the baking-and-delivery process multiple times, Kaufman became known as “The Muffin Man” and his efforts gained attention all the way across the country.

Julia Levy, 34, lives in New York, but heard about The Muffin Man and contacted Kaufman about taking this compassionate practice to the next level.

Levy suggested creating a holiday about giving food and the pair of them spread their idea on social media, eventually creating a Facebook group called National Muffin Day Muffinteers.

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Ever since, on the last Sunday of January, bakers across the country make muffins and give them out to the homeless in their communities.

For each muffin-baking volunteer, Kaufman donates $30 to Project Homeless Connect, a non-profit organization. This year, 235 bakers participated and Kaufman donated $6,700 dollars to the fund.

While our chance to participate in National Muffin Day this year has passed, 2019 will be here before you know it. In the meantime, you don’t need a holiday to take part in this type of community service.

The homeless are hungry year-round and could use the human interaction throughout the year, not just in cold months when communities are more likely to provide aid. Kaufman and Levy used social media to inspire all of us to get involved in a way that is needed — and can be done — every day of the year.

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