WARR ACRES, Okla.—
P.B. Jams sandwich shop owner Ashley Jiron, 30, received national fame via Instagram for a note she left on her restaurant window inviting a local dumpster diver inside for a complimentary lunch.
The note read: “To the person going through our trash for their next meal, You’re a human being and worth more than a meal from a dumpster. Please come in during operating hours for a classic Pb&j, fresh veggies, and a cup of water at no charge. No questions asked. -Your friend, the owner.”
Jiron went outside and noticed that the restaurant’s dumpsters had been scavenged.
“I had gone to the back to go put some trash in the dumpster, and I had noticed that some bags and containers with food were emptied and gone through,” Jiron said. “Immediately, of course, my heart sank, and I knew I needed to do something about it right away.”
For Jiron, the sight of someone’s disparity was personal.
“I am a mother of two little girls and I’ve struggled like a lot of single parents out there, and I’ve had to ask for state assistance food stamps and such,” she said. “Sometimes at the end of the month there wasn’t enough to feed me and my family. Something as simple as even just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is very comforting to somebody and maybe even offer them a few words.”
Nobody has yet come into the shop to request the lunch offer. Jiron plans to leave the sign up until they do.
“It really hurt me that someone had to do that,” Jiron said. “I think we’ve all been in that position, where we needed somebody’s help, and we just needed somebody to extend that hand. And if I could be just that one person to extend that hand to another one human being, and make their day just better then I’ll definitely do it.”
In Oregon, the count of homeless men, women, and children in Multnomah County alone is near 4,000 individuals. The number of people sleeping outdoors, in shelters, in cars, or other temporary housing is estimated to be four times the official count.