Enhancer of Joy
Lesson Developed by
Caroline Ainsworth Huges and Kelly Antonson
Bagged Lunch Service Project
Tips to Prepare
2-3 Weeks prior to this event, contact a local non-profit with clients who can benefit from having bagged lunches. Consider contacting agencies that focus on helping marginalized populations – the homeless, refugees, victims of domestic violence etc.
- Paper lunch bags for the number of clients to be served
- Pens and/or markers or crayons to decorate
- Sandwich-sized plastic bags for sandwiches
- 2 pieces of bread per client
- Lunch meat or nut butter (almond or sunflower) and jelly for sandwiches
- Sliced cheese
- 1 piece of fruit for each client
- 1 small bag of chips for each client
- 1 napkin for each client
- 1 small bottle of water for each client
- Individually wrapped or bagged cookies for each bag
- Large cardboard box(es) to transport the bags
- 3-4 different types of candy for youth
- Disposable plastic gloves
- Assign someone to deliver the lunches to the non-profit the next morning
Setting the Atmosphere
You will need long rectangular tables set up so that you can make an assembly line for the sandwich making and stuffing of the bags.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
“Always seek to do good to one another.”
This session focuses on “being Christ to others” and loving thy neighbor. Youth will work together to create a lunch for their fellow sisters and brothers, their neighbors who are in need. Youth will begin to understand Christ’s call to love thy neighbor.
Youth will leave youth group having put their faith into action. By reading the scripture and having their adult leaders explain that the action they took today is one small step to in “doing good to one another” they should have a greater appreciation for Jesus’ ministry of caring for the marginalized and vulnerable.
The Greatest Commandment Scriptures:
- Mark 12:28–34
- Matthew 22:35–40
- Luke 10:27
Introduction for Leaders
Key Theological Aspects
Gather [5 minutes]
Greeting One Another:
- Have an adult or student leader greet each student as they arrive.
- Circle youth up in a large circle and have them share their name and the best lunch they ever ate.
Ask a student leader to open in prayer (if possible). A sample prayer follows:
Gracious and loving God we are reminded through the lessons and words of your son Jesus Christ that we are called to share our love with others. Today, we ask that you bless the food we are about to prepare and the hearts of those who will receive these lunches. May they find comfort in our messages and peace in the knowledge that they are your beloved children. Amen.
Introducing the Session:
Tell youth that today they have an opportunity to provide care and love to others through a bagged lunch service project. In the scripture reading for the day, we are reminded that we are called to ALWAYS see the good in others and search for ways to love one another. That goes for those we don’t even know. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God; and the second is just as important, that we must love our neighbors as ourselves.
The enhancer of joy for this session is service. Most youth enjoy helping others, and giving back provides an even ground for youth to feel equal to their peers. There should be no competition in this activity. The inhibitor of joy is temptation. Youth sometimes struggle to not take the chips or cookies for themselves. Have a conversation with your group beforehand about the fact that today is about providing for those who do not have what we have, so as a result, resources and supplies are reserved for this project.
Work with your local non-profit to provide background and contextual information to the youth about who it is that they are making sandwiches for.
Engage [30 minutes]
Activity 1: Decorating Bags
- If you have a large group, split the group into smaller groups.
- One way to do this, is with the candy: Consider having 3-4 different types of candy in a bowl. Have each youth pick out a piece, and before they eat it, they must go around the room to find the students with the same type of candy – this will be their group for the project.
- If you do not want to use candy, you can have students pick a colored post-it note out of a bucket, or simply divide them into groups making sure that there is mix of people they know and people they may/do not know.
- Have students decorate the bags – either individually or all contributing something to each bag
- Provide a sample for the youth of a thoughtful message they might write on the front of the brown bag. They can use crayons, markers, or colored pencils, whatever you have available. Kids should spend a decent amount of time making the bags look colorful and joyful. Have bibles on hand so that they can write encouraging words of scripture as well.
Activity 2: Making the Sandwiches
Begin by having youth wash hands, put on hairnets, and gloves. Provide a tutorial of how to properly make a sandwich with care, instruct youth on exactly how many pieces of cheese and deli meat they should use. If you are making a lot of sandwiches, tell each youth how many they should make.
Activity 3: Assembly the Bags
- Once all the sandwiches are made, clear and clean those supplies and prepare the long tables for an assembly line.
- Show youth exactly what goes into each bag.
- Have youth assemble bags
- Have an adult or student leader at the end stapling the bags closed
Reflect [20 minutes]
Gather the group back in a large circle and have them share what they wrote or drew on their lunch bag. Why did they choose to do that? Have them explain why they think someone would want to hear that message.
Debrief [5 minutes]
- Encourage youth to take the same message they wrote on their bag and share it with everyone they encounter in the coming week. (If you have time, have them write it down on a separate piece of paper they can take home as a reminder.)
- Repeat of the focal scripture with the group.
Gather the group in a large circle surrounding the lunch bags and ask a member of the youth group to say a prayer over the lunches.