Sack Lunches for the Homeless


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A tray of food, with Lunch and Kitchen

Do you ever find yourself wanting to do more to help those in need but not knowing where to start?  Or feeling overwhelmed by the immense need in your community?

I hate the empty feeling of seeing someone in need and looking the other way. Several years ago, I found a simple way of giving back where I’m able.

I keep sack lunches in my car to give away when I see homeless people around my city. It doesn’t take much effort to prepare them and my children like participating too. I usually prepare 10-12 bags at once and keep a few in a bin in my car at any given time.


A tray of food on a table, with Lunch and Bag

Giving away these lunch sacks has shown me that when I extend kindness to others I am blessed just by giving. My children get to see that they can help make a difference in someone else’s day and perhaps life.

I often wonder who has been blessed more by this simple kindness, my children and I, or the person who received the sack lunch.

Non-perishable foods keep well in the vehicle for an indefinite period of time. It isn’t about whether the food is organic, all natural or fresh from the garden. Sometimes it is as simple as a package of peanut butter crackers, some applesauce, and a bottle of water. Every little bit helps!

Here are some of the things I’ve packed into our bags:
Cracker packs, with cheese or peanut butter
Fruit or applesauce cups
Vienna sausages
Ready to eat tuna packs
Cereal bars
Soft snack bars (avoid nuts and crunchy granola bars)
Dessert snacks
Bottled water
Plastic fork and spoon

Lunch and Kitchen

Barefeet In The Kitchen has partnered with Feeding America for a Virtual Food Drive. (You can read more about why we chose Feeding America in the original blog post.)

Working together we provided 27,840 meals for the homeless and we are still working to provide more meals. You can help!

Click the link here to donate your spare change; every dollar donated will provide TEN meals for the hungry. If you’re inspired to pack a lunch or two, tuck it into your car and pass it along to the next hungry person you meet.

“What do YOU like to do to give back?”

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. katmanning says

    I work in a local grocery and we always see people putting things back because they are a little short on their bill … I always try to have a little extra in my pocket so that I can keep that mother or father from having to put the gallon of milk back for just being a few cents short. I won't help tho if they are also buying booze or cigarettes.

    • Anonymous says

      What an awesome way to pay it forward. I have been in those other shoes and was blessed by the kindness of people like you. I am so grateful I can now help by paying it forward. Not a lot but as I know from personal experience, every little bit helps. Thank you for the blessings you pass on to others…

  2. Anonymous says

    Simple question – do you hand these 'lunches' to the folks on the street corners, etc.? After shopping I have stopped and handed them food: like soup/fruit (with w/the pull tab), soda crackers (opened my new box & pulled out a package), etc. Feeding our 'neighbors' and caring for others is everyone's job, to the best of our abilities. Thank You Mary and everyone else who does the same or something similar. Cheers…

  3. Eleisia Whitney says

    Such a good idea to provide sack lunches for the homeless. Thanks for the food ideas. Your children are learning to care about others less fortunate. Our family gives to all the food drives in our area.

  4. Krystina Grant says

    I thin this is awesome. I don't really have the extra cash to help (On SSI) but if I could I would. But you're doing awesome and I am so happy knowing there are those people out there to help where they can. Thank God I'm not homeless for the time being, but it really is tough when you don't have food to eat and no way to get any.