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Decorate Lunch Bags for Meals on Wheels

Simple, kid-created kindness.

Think how fun it would be to receive your meal in a brightly decorated lunch bag! This fun, inexpensive project is great for all ages.

Possible recipients

Anyone receiving a nutritious meal from Meals on Wheels (MOW) would enjoy your family’s art skills. Contact your nearest Meals on Wheels program (call or email), say you want to decorate lunch bags, and find out where to drop them off.

What you’ll need

  • Plain brown or white paper lunch bags
  • Decorating materials: markers, stickers, paint, magazine/catalog cutouts, stamps, etc.


  • Use your art supplies to decorate the bags. Be creative!
  • Take your kids along when you deliver your creations to your local Meals on Wheels office.


  • Why do you think some people need to have meals delivered to them? Why do you think people volunteer to deliver them?
  • Do you think it’s important to get a nutritious meal each day? Why?
  • When a home-bound person receives the bag you made, how do you think he or she will feel? How do you feel when you receive a handmade gift?
  • When you think of older people, what comes to mind? Why do you think you have those images?
  • What can we learn from older people [like Grandma and Grandpa]? What has been fun about spending time with them?
  • What are other ways we can make elders feel loved and respected?


  • Wilfred Gordon McDonald Patridge by Mem Fox (Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 1989). Ages 4-8. A young boy who lives next to a nursing home befriends the residents. This tale shows the beauty of relationships between young and old.
  • Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Gray (Aladdin, 1998). Ages 4-8. Children in the neighborhood love Miss Tizzy, and when she becomes ill, they devise ways to show her how much they care.
  • Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Chritina Bjork (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987). Ages 9-12. Linnea and her elderly neighbor, Mr. Bloom, visit Paris and Monet’s garden at Giverny. A delightful story about the interactions between a child and her elderly friend.
  • A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder  by Richard Peck (Puffin, 2000 and 2002). Ages 9-12. This acclaimed book and its sequel follow Joey and Mary Alice and their adventures with Grandma Dowel.

Take it further

  • Deliver Meals! Kids can be a great help when making deliveries. Just contact your local Meals on Wheels program (call or email).
  • Have a bag-decorating party with family and friends. You could also collect donations for your local Meals on Wheels program while you’re at it.
  • Decorating placemats are often welcome, too. (Think collage!) If possible, seal your placemats with a laminating machine or clear contact paper so your donations have a longer life.
  • To learn more about Meals on Wheels and how to discuss its clientele with your children, see the parent handbook created by Doing Good Together. Then consider taking on a Meals on Wheels route. It takes only about an hour at lunchtime, and MOW always needs volunteers – especially families with children!
  • Ask your local MOW what other items they might need. Perhaps they’d appreciate small holiday gifts (sun catchers, candles), emergency kits, or even oven mitts for their volunteers.

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