5 Steps to A MUST Summer Lunch Party Each One Reach One

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MDJ article dated June 10, 2003. Longtime and Much Loved Volunteer, Carol Hunt is pictured below the little girl munching on a MUST lunch.

Getting everybody to practice on time! What time is the game on Thursday? PROM and all the details that go with Prom Night. College Decisions. Spring Plays. Not to mention the usual things like meals and laundry. I know if you are reading this and still have kids in your home, your days are full beyond belief. I’ve often heard MAY compared with DECEMBER as far as how busy and scheduled our lives become in May, just like the holiday season.

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I don’t know a kid around who doesn’t miss seeing his/her friends once school is out for the summer! If you do still have kids in your home between the age of six and highschool, I hope you will consider organizing and carrying out a MUST Summer Lunch Party. I will show you how our family did this in five easy steps and you can do it, too. Children  Elementary-High School age can even do most of the planning with a little help here and there.
IMG_2539Did you know that MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program celebrates its 20th year in 2015? This year MUST expects to deliver between 6,000 and 7,000 lunches, across eight counties, each day of the school break. These lunches go to children who are on free or reduced lunch programs, and without this provision they would go hungry. MUST is looking for volunteers, across Metro Atlanta, who are able to give some time and resources to this worthy cause in the weeks and months ahead. Remember, they deliver to eight surrounding Metro Atlanta Counties. If you feel called to help out, please call 770-427-9862 or send an email to

summerlunch@mustministries.org.

N/A May 2016——–THIS COMING SATURDAY, MUST will be collecting the following non-perishable items along with new or gently used books from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at The MUST Marketplace at the backside of the building at 1407 Cobb Parkway North, Marietta:

**********PEANUT BUTTER (plastic jars only, please)**********JELLY**********

**********CHIPS/GRANOLA BARS(individually wrapped please)**********juice boxes**********

**********lunch bags**********sandwich sized zip locks 

N/A May 2016—Watch for ads about this donation drive on Fox Five all week!

The Marketplace is a fabulous Thrift Shop provided for anyone in the community by MUST. The prices are affordable and you never know what you might find there. YOU can check out the Marketplace when you drop your donations this coming Saturday, May 2, 2015.

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The poor you will always have with you…”

Jesus in Matthew 26:11

One of the most important things I believe we can teach our children is to have compassion and caring for those less fortunate than they are AND with that empathy and kindness, to then compel them to “do something” to help, no matter how small their act may seem. Back in the summers of 2002 and 2003, Leah, Walker and I hosted MUST Summer Lunch Parties a few times each summer and I am hoping if you are reading this, you may want to combine efforts with another Mom friend and host a MUST Summer Lunch Party with children who are still in your nest.

Taking Donations and hosting a Summer Lunch Party are opportunities for what I like to call “teachable moments.” A time to intentionally seize the moment by doing something fun and engaging, using our actions more than our words, and teaching our children important character traits that will help them in life.

Step One: Make a list of families that still have kids in the home. Consider school friends, church friends, cousins, and neighbors. Invite a few moms to join you in the chaperone role. (All parents do not need to stay for party-depending on the ages in attendance, recommended ratio is approximately 6-8 kids to one adult)

Step Two: Look at your family summer calendar and come up with one or more dates to host a party. Type out a notice to mail (or email) to the friends on your list.

Step Three: Meet with your volunteer Moms, your kids and their kids to plan out your party… the timeframe, snacks for the kids who come, where to have centers/stations and other details. If no swimming pool is available, plan story times ( for younger children) and games. Teens just love a chance to hang out together and catch up. Be Creative and Imaginative, catering your plan to the ages who will be in attendance! Preschoolers can help color/decorate the bags. Elementary and High School Ages can do ANYTHING, including leading groups, making sandwiches and more. Especially for younger children, set up different stations/centers where the children could rotate every 20 min. or so.

IMG_2747Step Four: Decide how many lunches your group will make. Communicate with MUST and keep them updated on your plans to provide some lunches and to find out where to take them. Call 770-427-9862 or email summerlunch@mustministries.org. Sometimes we made 50 and other times we made 100, but it depends on the size of your party, and ANY number of lunches will make a difference! Once you know who is coming, divide out the supplies you need for each lunch and email/text an assignment to each family who is coming. Use Facebook messaging for ease.

YOU will need: As many new or gently used books you can collect, hand sanitizer,  table knives, peanut butter (plastic jars only), jelly, bread, chips (individually packaged), fruit, granola bars (individually packaged), juice boxes, zip locks, lunch bags, crayons or markers for decorating bags, cardboard boxes for transporting the lunches, and frig space for storing the lunches overnight. A long dining/folding table or ping-pong table (cover with clean beach towels) will be perfect for making the sandwiches.

Step Five: Party Day! Be Flexible! Smile to yourself knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of hungry children AND helping to plant seeds of compassion and caring, not only in your own kids, but also in the hearts of their friends! Start with an introduction to explain the purpose for the party, pray for the children who will be receiving the lunches your group prepares, and remind the children that all lunches have to be packed before free time!

P.S. MUST Ministries can also use help with transporting and delivering the lunches. Our son, Walker and daughter, Leah were able to ride with the van a few times and seeing these kids for themselves was another great experience in and of itself. Contact Must Ministries to see how you and your family can get involved :  770-426-7667

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notes from families who received lunches from us back in 2002-2003
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AliMae spoke at the MUST Fundraiser this past Saturday Night. She is now 15, however she shared that after her grandmother passed, her father spiraled down and she and her brother were left hungry many, many days. That is until the MUST lunch van showed up and fed them! Since then, AliMae has been adopted into a more stable home and is doing well.
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Little girl proudly holding her lunch bag! “You leave us with a smile in our face.”
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Happy Faces as they receive something good to eat for lunch!
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Joyful little girl takes her lunch with a grateful heart.
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It’s LUNCHTIME for these three precious ones!

As you finish reading this blog post, you may be feeling a tug at your heart to do something! If so, DO IT! If you are too busy today, (it is almost MAY) make a  notation on your calendar in the coming weeks to reread this post.  In addition, if you do not live in the Metro Atlanta area, I hope you will respond by researching folks in need in your community and get your family involved in lending a hand.

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Walker and I,  with our friend and neighbor, Shannon as we give out Summer Lunches in the projects in Marietta. (2002)

Every bit that we do will make a difference. Are there children’s books tucked away in a cabinet or attic space? Let’s get those out and donate them to children who would love to have a book to call their own! These lunch parties can happen at workplaces, churches, anywhere there is a little space and a group to help pull some lunches together. Even young adults or folks my age can pull together a party!  MUST needs lots of sandwiches! Let’s make our 2015 summer extra special by reaching out to those in need.

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the postcard I mailed to families who joined us for the parties

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