He may not live on Drury Lane, but a California do-gooder is using his nickname “The Muffin Man” to feed the homeless.
Meet Jacob Kaufman, 36, the San Francisco-native behind National Muffin Day.
On the last Sunday of every January, Kaufman challenges people around the country to bake as many muffins as they can and distribute them around their cities to local homeless or hungry people.
Last weekend, 235 people around the country participated in the event.
“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 InsideEdition.com. “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.’”
Kaufman explained it all started during a family Yom Kippur celebration nearly five years ago, when he saw his uncle bake muffins from scratch and decided he would give it a shot.
“I made a dozen, and I had one, it was pretty good, but I had 11 left over. I was thinking, 'What can I do with these?'" he explained. “The next day, it was a Monday, I decided to walk to work down Market Street, where there’s a lot of homeless people. And I just handed out the remaining muffins.”
The following Sunday, he decided to bake two dozen muffins, and handed them out the following day.
“People were really appreciative, particularly when they asked me if I made these muffins myself,” Kaufman said. “People were really impressed and surprised that I would take the time to do that. It felt really good.”
He continued the ritual for about a year, when Julia Levy, 34, of New York heard about his efforts from across the country and reached out.
“What if we created a holiday about giving food?” Levy said, in an interview with InsideEdition.com. "Jacob said yes, and we started the muffin movement on social media."
With the help of a Facebook group and the hashtag #GiveMuffins, they began inviting volunteers all over America to join them once a year in a big day of baking and giving away muffins.
In addition to making sure the homeless in their cities have a bite to eat, Kaufman also donates $30 per volunteer to Project Homeless Connect.
This year, through Kaufman’s donation and many others, National Muffin Day will be gifting $6,700 to the organization.
“Muffin Day is not about The Muffin Man, and it’s not even about muffins, despite the name,” Kaufman said. “It’s really about making connections to and raising awareness of and fostering empathy for the more needy people in your cities.”
The group is inviting anyone interested in participating to join their Facebook group, National Muffin Day Muffinteers.