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Feel Good Friday: One Ham Sandwich at a Time


— June 10, 2016

There’s an old story about a young girl walking along a beach with her grandfather at low tide. The beach is covered with stranded starfish and, as the pair walks along, the girl picks up starfish and tosses them back into the ocean. After a time, her grandfather comments, “You know you can’t save them all. Why even try?” The girl, holding a starfish, answers, “I know. I do it because I can at least save this one,” and she returns the stranded creature to the water. Today’s Feel Good Friday isn’t about starfish; it’s about Leawood, Kansas law firm, Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Goza and their efforts at giving back to their community one ham sandwich at a time.


There’s an old story about a young girl walking along a beach with her grandfather at low tide. The beach is covered with stranded starfish and, as the pair walks along, the girl picks up starfish and tosses them back into the ocean. After a time, her grandfather comments, “You know you can’t save them all. Why even try?” The girl, holding a starfish, answers, “I know. I do it because I can at least save this one,” and she returns the stranded creature to the water. Today’s Feel Good Friday isn’t about starfish; it’s about Leawood, Kansas law firm, Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Goza and their efforts at giving back to their community one ham sandwich at a time.

Partner, Jim Bartimus started the weekly tradition over 22 years ago. The firm heads to the City Union Mission, a homeless shelter in Kansas City, every Tuesday to make over 350 ham and cheese sandwiches for the area’s homeless population. The firm purchases the food wholesale from a local grocery and hasn’t missed a week of sandwich making since the effort began. Back in the day, they made 50 sandwiches a week, which grew to 100 and kept growing to the typical 350+ sandwiches it is now. Over the years, this has totaled over $100,000 in donations to a very worthy cause.

City Union Mission; image courtesy of www.kmbc.com.
City Union Mission; image courtesy of www.kmbc.com.

According to Mr. Bartimus, “It’s all hands on deck,” meaning that every employee at the firm participates. They’ve even had some client participation. Mr. Bartimus said, “People love it. It’s unusual.”

The firm is also dedicated to other causes. Several members volunteer once monthly at a local food pantry and the firm gives them paid time off to do so. Other members of the firm read to children every week through non-profits Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance and Operation Breakthrough. Both organizations work with children who live in poverty.

According to Kim Millican, the firm’s business manager, “For many years, the partners have encouraged all attorneys and staff members to participate in charity endeavors for whatever organizations they choose, as well as firm-supported work. We must set the bar and be the example to others out there.  We can all do more, all the time.  We have to think about the impact we can have on others’ lives through our giving.”

Indeed. Law firms are in a unique position to be able to give back to the communities in which they do business. Pardon the sandwich-related pun, but these communities are literally law firms’ “bread and butter.”

Another partner, Chip Robertson, began a charity called Christmas Present, Inc. This foundation provides over 500 gifts for families in need during the holidays. Mr. Robertson saw a need that was being unmet and now the firm buys and wraps gifts every year.

The Dana James Charitable Foundation, started by Jim and Dana Bartimus, helps kids in need by giving to causes that provide relief for children. The firm has also contributed to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City’s local children’s hospital, providing each with funds for research.

Mr. Bartimus tells a story of how, right before deposing a local doctor he was suing, the doctor said that he’d heard about the firm’s donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to Mr. Bartimus, the doctor said, “I can’t thank you enough,” before revealing that his daughter has leukemia.

A good way to wrap up this Feel Good Friday is with another quote from Mr. Bartimus. He said, “There’s so much need out there. We’re supposed to be lawyers and leaders in our community. We can’t bury our heads in the sand and hope someone else does it.”

Well said, sir. We at LegalReader thank you and your firm for giving back to your community. You’re making a difference, one ham sandwich at a time.

Source:

One Sandwich at a Time

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