About Me

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About The Founder

My name is Justin Wilder Doering. This project is about the stories and perspectives behind the American homeless experience, not about me. This is not the platform to share my story. If you’d like to venture into my personal, life feel free to email me or stalk my social media. Otherwise, if you have any questions about the Fifty Sandwiches or opportunities for the project, please do not hesitate to email me using the the button or link below!

(Email Justin Doering or Fifty Sandwiches at info@FiftySandwiches.com)

(Justin Doering on Instagram)

I have, however, left the following message on this page from my bio I wrote in 2016 before the Kickstarter to fund the trip began:

“It is not an overstatement to expect this trip to be a major life-changing experience. I like to think my senses for adventure are untamed, restrained only by budgetary measures. This life offers an endless buffet of remarkable experiences and I’m not here just to have a taste. The idea of tossing a mattress in a van and traveling the country with the purpose of getting beat over the head endlessly with culture-shock excites me to no end.

This idea has been evolving in my head for years, sharpening its nails and scratching at my conscious. This is my project. Everything I have to offer will be put into this. There is no doubt in my mind that I will not be able to succeed and show the collective population that there is more to homelessness than portraits of tattered faces and simplified statistics.”

I thought of Fifty Sandwiches when I was 15 years old. It’s been nearly a decade.

I don’t have an agent, a designer, a publisher, or an editor. If I did, it wouldn’t have taken three years to publish. But here we are. To let it out, to see it come together, is surreal.

Thank you for reading and thank you for being a part of this journey.

With deep sincerity and gratitude,

Justin Wilder Doering

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Jaime Vega says:

    You are a great human. Most do not understand that we are all here for others. That’s it. Keep on doing what you’re doing. God Bless you and all you meet.

  2. David Ca Parrish says:

    If you are coming through Colorado Springs, Colorado I know someone who has been homeless for four years living out if their vehicle with their dog you could interview.

  3. Beautiful way to live life on mission Justin.

  4. beautiful way to live life on mission Justin…

  5. Kristen Daniel says:

    Justin, please contact me about your San Francisco leg. I am a teacher at a Quaker school in SF where our 8th graders do a yearlong study of homelessness…would love to have you come and speak and also show you the encampments near our school in the Mission.

  6. Kenneth Engelhardt says:

    How can I get the complete Isabel Rosa Aurujo interview? Can you e-mail it to me?

  7. I like the project. Keep posting!

  8. Amy says:

    Justin, I think what you are doing is great!! I hope it sheds light on the ever growing problem America is facing today. Not everyone homeless is just a “loser”. I worked security at a homeless shelter for years and what I experienced was forever life changing. I will go on record to say – a very large percentage have mental problems. Without getting these people the help they really need to function in society – which we don’t – it’ll be a losing battle. And I should mention, it was almost 30 years ago I worked there. And things just have gotten worse. Good luck to your cause. I hope you have some impact.

  9. tom says:

    good luck with this project but remember the ‘hidden homeless’ rarely get covered…but that i mean those people who work and hide their homelessness- hard to find these people and therefore the general assumption is the homeless are all druggies and lazy beggars- try your best to access these people

  10. Cosima Lux says:

    Hey there
    Your mission touches me. I am so very glad you are listening. This may have come from dimple curiosity, but your impact will be much greater than those you are already helping by lending your ear and translating their stories.

    It might be interesting for you to check out Humanekind projects;
    doing similiar work to you in a slightly different way 🙂 but with the same goals. If you pass through Denver I’d be happy to bring you to one of our block parties with the homeless or introduce you to our founder Kenneth, whom I think you would definitely connect with.
    Cheers to you, Cosima

  11. Cosima Lux says:

    Hey there
    Your mission touches me. I am so very glad you are listening. This may have come from simple curiosity, but your impact will be much greater than those you are already helping by lending your ear and translating their stories.

    It might be interesting for you to check out Humanekind projects;
    doing similiar work to you in a slightly different way 🙂 but with the same goals. If you pass through Denver I’d be happy to bring you to one of our block parties with the homeless or introduce you to our founder Kenneth, whom I think you would definitely connect with.
    Cheers to you, Cosima

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  13. Robin Myrman says:

    At some point in your book I think reference should be made to the families of the homeless. I suppose not in every case, but the ones I know of, the families of the homeless find themselves in a hellish position. It took over 13 years to get my drug addicted schizophrenic brother off the streets by finally being allowed to be his conservator. Because he “wasn’t a danger to himself or others” (even the time he had 6 dead baby possums that he was giving mouth to mouth to “bring them back”) it was impossible to help him. The criteria for getting help is insane. Finally after a complete nightmare he was held and medicated against his will and had 6 very good years on disability, in a home, had great relationships with his family and was so grateful to no longer be living in a nightmare. Until he went off his meds and started to use meth to “lose a little weight and just feel better”. Wonderful 6 years and as of this week he is homeless again and running screaming from his family because we are the objects of his delusions and are torturing him constantly. Wouldn’t it be great if I could call someone and get him picked up and given the help he would again be grateful for? No, it doesn’t work way and down into the trenches we go again.

  14. Tim says:

    Hey Justin! My name is Tim and I’m a deputy sheriff in Spokane county. I recently read your article in the CD’A press “Humanity for the Homeless” and I was definitely intrigued by your passion for the homeless. I see a lot of it while working my profession and have always had a heart for those who live on the street since I was a kid. You are very true to say it can happen to any of us. I’m fortunate for what I have but it’s only because of God’s grace I have these things. I do see the homeless just as I see everybody I come in contact with. The glory of my job is that I can actually stop and talk with them to give them hope. I know they listen not because I’m in uniform but because I care. I’m a huge advocate for mental health and drug rehab. Keep writing on this subject to bring more attention to the plight of the homeless because.

  15. Kent says:

    Being that your from Boise you should have swung through Couer d’ alene here and then Spokane WA . Their is ton of
    homeless here in Coeur d’ Alene and many in Spokane WA .
    I think its a nice effort,but really people don’t care. Well the vast majority. They believe the homeless to be lazy shiftless
    humans,nay less then human. So they have very little compassion for the homeless.
    My story as a homeless person is –

    I was homeless many many years ago , I was 19 ( I am 59 now ) at the time because of my bad behavior and lack of
    respect for my poor dearly departed mother.I certainly now after all this time and for many years hold no ill will towered her.
    I was homeless for about 6 years. Back before the days of food banks , the homeless would eat out of dumpsters. Now with
    food banks. Their is no eatable food in grocery store dumpsters.
    I did a lot of traveling on my thumb ( Hitch hiking ) during summer months and meet many great people and then some very
    sick and demented people. One I believe killed a kid in KY who was also a hitch hiker . But it is speculation. So I am not sure.
    I found that the working poor and poor are the ones most sympathetic to a homeless human.. I keep using the term human
    as they are and well why is it that we feed and shelter dogs and cats and yet humans we don’t feel the necessity? Why is
    that? Where has human compassion gone , or was their ever a abundance of human compassion.

    I digress – On with my story – I am now homeless and have been for 3 years here in Coeur d: Alene , ID . A town with a 12
    man homeless shelter and estimated ( By Kootenai County figures ) 200 homeless.Since . A city with a very lack of
    human compassion that has made flying a sign illegal ! Sounds unconstitutional to me !
    Back in the late 90’s I hurt my back and was out of work for a year and a half. I went to MD’s , Physical therapists and
    chiropractor.s. My back did get better , but over the years it would get thrown out and I would be bed ridden for a week or two.
    So in 2013 I threw my back out and it never got better. I lost my job at a call center and then because I was barely able to walk
    ,stand or sit for long I was unable to get work. Thus I lost my apartment and all my worldly possessions.Including picture of my
    deceased mother , The only ones I had. .
    I have tried every agency governmental and private in Coeur d” Alene for help.Since Idaho did not take Extended care
    ( also known as Obama Care ) . Single men can not get health care.. Thanks Butch Otter !
    I have a 15 year old son and ex wife here in Coeur d” Alene . So having my son watch me be broken and homeless is very
    embarrassing !
    I have for the last 3 years tried to get Social Security Disability , But them fools keep using excuse that I can sit. How do they
    know that ?
    I have seen Doctors paid for by SSDI , But how can a 15 minute visit determine that?
    So alas I wither on the vine here in CDA and wonder what will become of me.
    This is my story and Its not meant for sympathy from any readers, as I have heard ” Im so sorry to hear of your plight ”
    so many times from social workers and homeless advocates here and that being all their is! No real help!
    Bitter,? Hell ya I am – I paid taxes for many many years and now I need help. Its basically a screw you. BUT I”M SORRY!
    Yet Federal Government send billions in foreign aid to foreign nations And that sense less OIL war in Middle east.
    Just leave them people ALONE . Let them live as they desire. America CAPITALISTS are so greedy they want to make all
    nations consumers for them !
    I digress .. lol

    Happy Trails



  16. Janis Houghton says:

    Justin, I was so touched when I read the article about you in the Cd’A Press. Each time I see a homeless person, I find myself wondering how that person got to that place… I know there’s got to be some incredible stories out there. So much judgement is placed upon people that are homeless, but if they are given an opportunity to tell their stories, maybe we can begin to understand and then truly figure out ways to give them a leg up. I don’t think many people realize how close any of us can be to becoming homeless….sometimes it’s just a phone call away. A life can turn upside down and disintegrate in a heart beat; I’ve seen it happen.
    I will be thinking of you often and wishing you safe travels. I will be sending some financial support as I can.
    I’ll spread the word around your hometown…I’m sure many will be interested in your journey.
    Be smart, be safe…. I can’t wait to hear more. Thank you for practicing such altruism…especially at a time like this!

  17. William Mowry says:

    I have an idea for a video game and i’m trying to see about getting an indie team created to actually do this; but-
    it’d start as a jumbled mess of puzzle pieces, you have to essentially assemble them to create a picture that depicts a real life experience with homelessness, also the puzzle pieces are in video form so… it also makes it harder!
    I was thinking we need to use mechanics for metaphore too.
    I was thinking, it wouldn’t be that hard… I mean, yeah it wouldn’t be simple but I think it’s doable

    We might even use actual real life images; perhaps as the background or something; if we could get an experience that had a setting we could video tape it and use it

    We could do several individual stories indepth

    – Also if a design team see’s this i’m okay with it being stolen from me! it’s just a good idea; please do it through Fifty Sandwiches 🙂

  18. L says:

    I love what you are doing. Empathy and love is needed always and especially now as we look to the future. When in Portland I’d love to help you. We have one of the highest rates of houseless veterans in the nation. Keep up the great work.

  19. Stephanie says:

    Hi. How can I help ? I would love to maybe help by giving in my state,and having my boys help as well. This is a fabulous idea.

  20. Brad Mayne says:

    I want to be a part of your journey.. please tell me how I can help.

  21. Mark says:

    Remarkable effort to expose the indifference of our govts culture. Should the USA be allowing in refugees and illegal immigrants when 100s of thousands of citizens are homeless? We are homeless, sold our home and left the US high cost of living and crushing taxation. We voted with our feet.

  22. jordan rudnick says:

    Their stories are real and need to be told. Thank you for telling them. Much respect and admiration for your efforts. Keep up this work. I intend to do the same.

  23. Brita Austin says:

    Would you like to have a better map, one with pop-ups to include media and information? I can help, free of charge! I am a maker of maps – a GIS Specialist. Here is a link to one of my current projects: http://arcg.is/2apsfr9 (please view on computer/tablet due to size). This example is a mash of designs, constructed to research which works best for increasing participation in sustainability-related activities. Yours can be designed like any of the tabs. Here are the different designs to choose from: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/app-list/
    You could actually put this together yourself, but again, I am happy to help. I support your cause and applaud your efforts.

    Well Wishes & Kind Regards,

    Brita Austin

  24. Justin, Edie Cohn is an artist in North Carolina that did a similar life event on homelessness. Perhaps the two of you can collaborate? i have included her website in case you ever come to North Carolina. She is a very special person and a remarkable artist. The link is about her work

  25. Steve says:

    Justin, we would love to talk to you about bringing you to speak to our community. Can you please email me? I work in South Bend at the Center for the Homeless. Love your story and your compassion!!!

  26. Roger says:

    Justin I’m Roger and I must say great blog 50 sandwiches is amazing. I actually bought some art from lee when I was on Venice beach. Would happen to have a contact on him I’d like to purchase more art from him. I remember he had an iPhone because I swiped my card thanks in advance.

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