How to Organize Your Own Lunch Making Event

A great service project to do with children (or adults) is to make lunches for the homeless. This usually take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. Remember to keep things fun and encourage kids to do what they enjoy.
Below are suggested items you may want to include in a lunch bag. Feel free to improvise as desired.

What you will need:
  • Sandwich bags (100)
  • Snack bags if packaging snacks (100)
  • Paper bags – Large size if possible  (100)
  • Bread – 10 loaves or 200 slices without the heels
  • Creamy Peanut Butter (about 84 oz – more if using crunchy PB – 3-28 oz jars)
  • Jelly or Jam (about 90 oz – more if using Preserves – 3-30 oz jars)
  • Fresh Fruit or Fruit Cups (100)
  • Something Sweet (cookies, fruit snacks, pudding, etc – 100)
  • Snacks (granola, chips, crackers, etc – 100)
  • Water/juice box/drink – 100
  • Plastic Spoons if using fruit cups or pudding (100)
  • Table cloths for easy clean up
  • Wipes  for easy clean up
  • 8 Banana Boxes or 3 large packing boxes (18″ x 18″ x 24″) 
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Metal Knives and Spoons (4-6 of each)
  • 2 Staplers + staples
  • Measuring cups
  • Plastic bin or box for stacking completed sandwiches
  • Crayons, Colored Pencils, Markers
Planning Ahead
  • Pick a day that works well for your schedule and other kids you might want to invite.
  • Select a location. This event can easily be done at someone’s home, church, or community center. Access to a sink is helpful for cleanup.
  • Invite your kids friends to join the event! If participating families will be helping provide supplies, Signup Genius is a great resource for organizing the items that you need.
Making Lunches
  • Initially, set up two or three work stations
    • Coloring lunch bags – Encourage children (and adults) to decorate the bags with cheerful pictures or messages. Use crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers.
    • Making Sandwiches –
      • Spread out a plastic table cloth to make cleanup easier.
      • Set out bread, peanut butter, jelly, knives/spoons, gloves, and wipes.
      • It is generally easiest to have a couple of people spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread and have a couple of people spread jelly/jam on a different piece of bread. Combine the two halves and then have another helper put the sandwich in a sandwich bag. Encourage children to make sandwiches they would eat (not to light on the jelly!).
      • Stack the sandwiches in a box or bin to store until it is time to assemble the lunch bags.
    • Preparing snacks/sweets – If you are looking for ways to engage more children or children who don’t care to color, instead of buying prepackaged snacks or sweets, buy Goldfish, Cheez-Its or Cookies in bulk. Have the children measure out 1/3 cup of the snack or a couple of cookies into snack bags.
  • Assemble Lunches
    • Set up
      • Line up the supplies down a long table or around the edges of a smaller table. Place the lunch bags and drinks first and the sandwiches last. This helps keep the sandwich from getting squished.
      • Designate an area for kids to set the completed lunch bags for inspection and boxing
    • Fill Bags
      • Have the children line up at in front of the lunch bags and explain the process.
      • Each child will take a lunch bag and fill it up as they walk down/around the table.
      • Have a couple of adults inspect the completed lunches to be sure all items are there and then fold over the bag once and staple once. Place in box for transport.
  • Celebrate!
    • Explain to the children that homeless people include children, families, men, and women. Some are homeless because of addictions, but many are also homeless because of financial difficulties. The love that they have put into making these lunches will not only fill their stomachs but also their hearts.
    • If you feel inclined, pray with the children for the people who will receive the lunches.
    • Take a Picture – Have each child grab a lunch to hold for a group picture. 
    • Ask parents to sign a photo release waiver if the picture will be shared on Girlfriends Care website. Email for the form.
    • Lunches can be delivered to Bread of Life during the day (email them to let them know you will be dropping by) or your favorite homeless shelter.