Research says that volunteering is good for our health as we age, but Allen Law’s doctor has been telling him he needs to stop.
That’s because Law’s life of voluntary service involves three hours’ sleep a night in the front seat of his minivan. The rest of the time, the retired schoolteacher is busy hauling crates of sandwiches, warm clothing and other essentials and delivering them to those in need – the homeless and hungry of Minneapolis – as well as inspiring an army of helpers of all ages. “The most important thing this program delivers is compassion,” he tells them. “That’s what it’s all about: Changing lives for the better.” The nonprofit he founded after retiring, Love One Another, doubles as a relationship builder: Kids in grade school work alongside seniors.
Law has worked the night shift for the past 14 years, leaving his tiny refrigerator-filled apartment every day at 8pm and returning at noon, and he has no plans to stop, whatever his doctor says.
“I haven’ t slept in a bed for the past 14 years, not one night. This is what I have to do for the rest of my life.”