Our local Las Vegas/Henderson (NV) elementary schools have started a program called Two-Lunch Tuesday. On the second Tuesday of each month, children are asked to bring an extra sack lunch to school. The lunches are gathered & distributed to the homeless in our city within the same day. Our school (Glen Taylor Elementary) usually provides more than 300 individual lunches on this special Tuesday. I believe 8 other area schools also participate, which means there are more than 2,000 homeless adults & children being fed lunch on that day!
To us, it's a relatively easy way to give. While we're making lunch in the morning, we simply make one (or more) extra to share with someone less fortunate. To make it even easier on the families, our school sends home a reminder note stapled to a brown paper sack/bag that can then be used to hold the donated lunch.
My kids (ages 9 & 12) are old enough to understand the reason for it. They are amazed to see the "group effort" when so many of their classmates within the school bring an extra lunch all on the same day. Together, it's quite a large display of lunch! It makes them feel like they are helping feed the homeless, even though they only did something rather small & simple by making an extra lunch, yet it has a significant impact on the greater good in our community.
I enjoy this monthly opportunity to share the blessings of extra food with those who do not have enough. We often end up making more than just one lunch to share. This month, we did three to represent the three of us in our family. I felt like we should do a little more in November with it being Thanksgiving.
Two-Lunch Tuesday usually brings up discussions of what it would be like to be truly hungry, how we have so much extra food, how we shouldn't waste food, what it might be like to not have a home, & how we need to remember to be thankful for the food and shelter we have. I don't try to turn it into a sermon every month but these regular reminders and opportunities to give back are ways to help my kids learn about compassion and serving/volunteering, even at a young age.
A couple years ago when we lived in Iowa, we volunteered at the local food bank once a month. Even though my kids were younger, we helped sort, stack, and stuff bags of food for needy families and filled Friday after-school backpacks for kids who didn't get enough to eat over the weekend until they came back to school for hot lunch. We often volunteered with a wide range of people...from employees at area companies who held a group volunteer event to some individuals who were serving a community service sentence for committing a crime. It was hard work but we always felt good about our efforts, knowing they were needed and realizing how many were served in our community. We will soon be helping at our local Las Vegas food bank (Three Square) for a weekly shift now that my children are both old enough to volunteer there.
- Brenda K., Henderson, Nevada