The Lunchbag Movement
*Previously published on Today Parents http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/the-lunch-bag-movement
Since the day my boys were born, I've tried to instill in them the importance of philanthropy.
Throughout the year's we've sponsored families at the holidays, buying all their gifts. We've donated turkey dinners and even rung bells in front of Walmart wearing Santa hats and Christmas pajamas. You can imagine how much money four little boys dancing to “Jingle Bell Rock” while handing out candy canes brought in? Cash money.
Last Christmas season we went to Burlington Coat Factory and paid off the layaways of a few different families, which was another teachable moment. Making them understand Robert Ingersoll’s quote, “We rise by lifting others” has been a cornerstone of my job as a mom, because above all else, my goal is to raise kind humans.
It wasn't until this past school year that I witnessed my years of trying to explain why we help others majorly sink in and impact not only my kids but many in our community.
Each morning on our drive to school drop off we pass several Interstate off ramps, where most of the time there's a homeless man or woman with a sign asking for help. We'd driven by these individuals many times, sometimes we would hand them a few dollars and other times we would swing by McDonald's or Whataburger and grab them a meal.
One morning, we saw a gentleman we passed frequently who happened to be a veteran. My oldest piped up from the backseat and said, "Mom, can we give him my lunch bag and I'll get food at school?"
We didn't hand off his lunch tote that morning, but when the boys arrived home from school, we talked about what we could do on a more consistent basis, since we know we'll be passing many of these individuals in need on a daily basis.
"Since you're already packing us lunches, why not pack a few more and we'll hand them out on the way to school?" one of my triplets shouted out.
That afternoon, our Lunch Bag Movement was established, and in our car for the next month we carried extra brown bag lunches, filled with bottled water, apples, bagel sandwiches and more.
Words cannot express the joy my boys felt when handing the lunches out to these men and woman through the window, many of whom are veterans.
"Thank you for your service!" my boys would yell when I would mention the man or woman was a vet. This small act of buying a few more snack packs of chips or oranges has not only filled the bellies of those who need it most, but it's spurred many conversations within our family about how people can end up homeless and why it’s important to give back.