MaZone: Brown-Bag Lunch Program

A weekly brown-bag lunch program for children at a neighboring daycare center.

Temple Beth Orr
2151 Riverside Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33071
954.753.3232
http://www.templebethorr.org/

Target Groups: Multi-Generational Social Action Program

This program provides brown-bag lunches for children who attend a Daycare Center in a neighboring town. The Center services families of the working poor. The Center provides weekday hot lunches, however, some of the children may not have nutritious food (or any food) available to them on the weekends. Temple Beth Orr (TBO) coordinates a program from October through May to deliver individual brown-bag lunches to the Center on Fridays for distribution to all children as they leave for the weekend. This program has been quite successful, enabling Temple Beth Orr volunteers to receive Broward County Family Central's "Volunteer Group of the Year" award for 2001.

The program relies on volunteers to prepare and drop-off to TBO brown-bag lunches using guidelines supplied. These lunches must be dropped off weekly during the collection period of Sun-Thurs. The number of lunches required varies slightly from year to year according to the enrollment at the Center. For the 2001-2002 school year, the number was 91 per week.

Each Friday, a volunteer collects the packages in large garbage bags from TBO and tranports them to the Center by noon.

The volunteers needed for this program are:

  • preparers to make and drop-off the lunches weekly to TBO
  • drivers to make the weekly runs to the Center
  • callers to call volunteers with reminders in the beginning of the program or as needed.

Preparers are expected to drop off one lunch per week; extra lunches are always welcome. Sometimes volunteers group together and rotate the lunch-making responsibilities. For example, four people may make four lunches once a month. In the event, someone would like to participate in the program but cannot commit to weekly preparation; we accept monetary donations to TBO's Food Closet.

Sometimes, relying on volunteers to weekly supply the lunches is not enough. People go on vacation, become ill or just plain forget. It is necessary to have a backlog of lunches pre-made and in "inventory." A supplemental method of accruing excess lunches for this inventory is to have a group assembly. This assembly day could be either a general or specific gathering. "General" means that the Monthly MaZone Assembly Day is decided (say the first Friday of the month) and whoever is interested just shows up on the first Friday of the month. "Specific" would be a specific project of Sisterhood or Youth Group. For example, the August 12th meeting of Youth Group would be a group assembly project for MaZone held in the social hall.

MaZone

Either way, anyone who would like to pack lunches with a group would be able to do so. A large numbers of lunches could be made in one sitting. This would help to provide a much needed "inventory" of lunches to draw from in the event of a shortfall--and would also provide to participate children and adults, a living demonstration of our congregation's commitment to feeding the less fortunate; truly social action in action.

Drivers would be used on a rotational basis and would need to drive approximately every four to eight weeks depending on the number participating. The advantage of driving would be that the driver has the opportunity to see the Center and the delivery of lunches to the children, thus making the program teachings come alive.

Callers are listed on a roster and used as needed.

Outgrowths of the Program

In December, we circulate the names and ages of the children of the Center to those participants who volunteer to provide Christmas gifts to the children. As we have asked that the gifts be under $20, we always have a terrific response and, as a result, no child has been left out. These gifts are brought to the Center by some of the volunteers (who even bring their own families!) and given to the children during the annual holiday party. This year, in response to a request of the Social Action Committee, Temple Beth Orr provided holiday meals for ALL families of children and staff at the Center.

During the entire year, we accept donations of children's and adult's clothing, children's toys, books, furniture and really anything we feel would be of use to any of the families or to the Center itself.

Further Details of the Program

The program has been in existence for about seven years. It began a project of Sisterhood and moved under the auspices of the Social Action Committee where it has grown into the program it has become.

The program has an annual operating budget of $500.