(Landon To holding lunches to be distributed outside of GLIDE)
What do you say about a 14-year-old GLIDE volunteer who applied for a grant JUST to help our organization feed the hungry? SIMPLY AMAZING! And that’s exactly what San Francisco native and GLIDE volunteer Landon To accomplished (with a little help from mom, Dina).
Dina To originally came to San Francisco to attend law school and always oriented herself towards the bridging of community partnerships. She passed on the values of helping those who are less fortunate to her children.
Her family began volunteering at GLIDE to serve lunches back in October 2017. Landon was a mere 8 years of age at the time and quickly became aware of the disparities affecting our community.
(Landon distributing lunches)
“Talking to people abroad about San Francisco was a shocker to me,” reflects Landon. “I’d get these responses, like “Wow, you’re from San Francisco? The place with all that crime and homelessness?” I wanted to change the perception of how people viewed my city.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Diana’s children, who attend school in San Rafael, made lunches for St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin. Some students, including Landon’s younger brother, were inspired to do more and formed a club called The Lunchmakers.
“I just went along with what my younger brother and what his friends did for the first year of The Lunchmakers. I was not too involved until last year, when the group appointed me as “The Lunchmakers Development Director,” said Landon. “Some jobs I do include packaging lunches, recruiting people, acquiring funding, and spreading influence on social media,” he added.
The club contacted other families that were interested, and expanded into multiple clubs, with additional schools taking part, beginning with Brandeis Marin in San Rafael.
In March 2022, San Francisco Day School launched their own The Lunchmakers’ chapter, providing monthly lunch bag donations to GLIDE.
Since then, three additional The Lunchmakers chapters have donated to Glide, as well as some drop-offs to St. Agnes, LinkedIn, and a toddler crew from a neighborhood in the Presidio.
In Landon’s freshman year at San Francisco Urban High School, he helped establish a Lunchmakers chapter and began recruiting other students. To date, The Lunchmakers have distributed over 4,300 lunches to GLIDE. The group makes two regular visits to GLIDE (the first and third Saturdays of every month) distributing approximately 300 lunches per month.
It was in late 2023 when Landon broached the topic with Dina about researching ways of applying for money to help cover the cost of making and delivering lunches. And sure enough, Dina did some googling and discovered Youth Services America (YSA). Landon filled out the questions himself and submitted the grant in November 2023.
Landon received word that YSA approved his $500 grant application on February 24. “Filling out the grant was an arduous process, but it was worth it. It taught me how to allocate a budget and to maximize effectiveness.”
For Landon, The Lunchmakers is merely a reflection of his humanitarian values instilled by his mother. “My mother inspires me. She sits on many boards, including work at a nonprofit benefiting amputees.”
What’s next for Landon? This time, he has his eyes set on a $3,000 grant which will fund a full year of lunches to be delivered to Glide by a Lunchmakers chapter (the equivalent of 150 lunches per month). Landon never quits dreaming about what else is possible.
GLIDE is rooting for you, Landon!