Schools are back in session, and a crazily fun global movement may inspire you to spread some love (along with the peanut butter) into your child’s school day, and ideally – well beyond. Check out #HashtagLunchbag. It’s the perfect example of how a small group of people on a local level can make a tremendous impact, one small act at a time.
#HashtagLunchbag began on Christmas 2012 in a Los Angeles apartment when a group of friends kicked around ideas on ways to find a fun and meaningful way to give back. After a few failed attempts, they decided to hit up a local grocery store to buy enough food to prepare 100 lunches. Stellar lunches that would make everyone not eating them jealous.
They hit the streets near the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Boardwalk looking for anyone that could use a meal. They smiled when asking people if they were hungry, exchanging small talk while handing over their mini-feasts, acknowledging a shared humanity. When they finished, fired up from the day, they shared images of the experience on their personal social media platforms, jokingly tagging posts with #HashtagLunchbag.
The posts attracted an abnormally large amount of likes/comments/calls/texts/emails from people wanting to join in for “the next one.” (They hadn’t planned on doing a “next one”, but riding the high of their good deeds, decided to repeat the project a month later.)
More friends joined, more meals were made, and more people were fed. As they say on their website, “The ripple continued and more people were hitting us up wanting to know how they could get involved. We ran it back for another go ’round in February 2013, growing out of our apartment to a local restaurant. We set a goal of making 1,000 meals. 100 hundred people showed up for the party. We added love notes of encouragement to each meal to further acknowledge those we were feeding, reminding them that they weren’t forgotten. Just like we did, everyone went on to share their experiences on their social platforms, intriguing and inspiring their friends and their followers.”
Since then, they’ve hosted monthly #HashtagLunchbag events across Los Angeles, seeing others around the world replicate their model. n their website, they shared simple do-it-yourself instructions so anyone can repeat their efforts. To date, the #HashtagLunchbag movement has grown to more than 100 cities hosting #HashtagLunchbag events around the globe
The organization’s rapid growth has led to the formation of the Living Through Giving Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 non profit organization that empowers humanity with the tools to create & benefit from organized acts of Love.
#HashtagLunchbag is more than just a program that feeds the hungry in local communities. With handwritten love notes as our secret ingredient, they use bagged lunches as vessels to spread love, acknowledging the humanity of both the giver and the receiver. Volunteers make the meals and embellish simple paper sacks, both of which nourish the receiver on so many levels.
Who knew what could grow from a Christmas morning conversation among friends. Find out more on their website, link here.
All images from #HashtagLunchbag‘s Instagram page