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Why Make Kids' Bags?

We at Open Table are all for More Love. Less Hunger. 1 in 6 children in Middlesex County suffer from food insecurity. We distribute up to 150 Kids’ Bags each week as part of our mission to address hunger in our community. Donations of Kids’ Bags are vital to supporting the youngest in-need in our local area. Your donation of any number of Kids’ Bags is appreciated!

What is a Kids' Bag?

A Kids’ Bag provides joy and kid-friendly meals, snacks, and beverages for a child aged 12 and under. The food, decorated bag, and little non-food treat in the bag work in harmony to make each child feel special and bring a positive vibe to their food pantry trip. The food supplements the ⅔ fresh and ⅓ other foods provided to the family by Open Table and provides kid-friendly items the family might not receive as part of their weekly order but the child can enjoy and prepare themselves as needed. It helps meet their hunger in as nutritious, filling, and kid-friendly way as shelf-stable food can allow.

Helping Feels Good

Children love to help – it feels good. Putting together Kids’ Bags is a fun, hands-on group activity for children of all ages. It helps them build empathy, learn about hunger in an age appropriate manner, and gives them a meaningful way to help others in their community.

Educating Kids on Food Insecurity

Making Kids’ Bags with young people presents the opportunity to build empathy and help children understand food insecurity. Open Table has collated a few resources for different age groups to help you.

Elementary – Read them a story. You may opt to borrow one of the books shown below from Open Table when you register. Your Open Table Community Coordinator can arrange delivery/pick-up of a book with you. Or check out a story from the library – librarians are a great resource. The Concord Library has curated a list of books – use the link or ask them. 

Middle & High School – Activities and role-playing are great for this age. See our Resources page for different ideas.

Getting Started

Register your Kids’ Bag activity with us! Once you register your activity, an Open Table volunteer community coordinator will contact you and work with you to ensure you have a fun and successful activity. 

 

Making the Bags - It’s as Easy as 1-2-3!
Step 1: Make it Fun!

Step 1: Make it Fun!

Have Fun Decorating Bags!* 

Your artwork brings joy to the child receiving it.  Use your imagination along with markers, crayons, colored pencils, or stickers to decorate.

Need ideas?  Think about what inspires you –  nature, sports, animals, interests, hobbies, or something else? Imagine your picture is being given to a friend or relative, or being hung in a museum!  

*Register to get a free Starter Kit and Open Table will supply the bags and certain foods for free!

 

Step 2: Fill the Bags

Step 2: Fill the Bags

The food items and quantities are designated to supplement the food provided by Open Table and alleviate a child’s hunger with food they may enjoy and prepare themselves, as needed, in as nutritious, kid-friendly a way as prepackaged food can allow. The bags are in addition to fresh food and other groceries received by the family for the week. No candy please.

See the suggested items list below.

Step 3: Deliver Your Bags

Step 3: Deliver Your Bags

When you register, you will be asked for your delivery date and preferred drop-off location. Collection bins are located at both the 33 Main St, Maynard and 40 Beharrell St, West Concord locations and are accessible 24/7 for up to approximately 20 bags. 

For donations over 20 bags – the Maynard location has staff on site M-Th; the West Concord location is not staffed but we can arrange a volunteer to meet you. Your Open Table Community Coordinator will work with you to organize the delivery of your assembled bags to one of our locations.

Suggested Kids' Bag Contents

Each bag should include the following shelf-stable, packaged item(s):

  • (3) beverages – single serving shelf-stable chocolate milk* or 100% juice*
  • (3) breakfast – snack sized cereal or oatmeal packet*
  • (3) fruit cups – no sugar added applesauce* or fruit*
  • (3) whole grain snack bars – granola, protein, or fruit-based bars
  • (3) other healthy/filling snacks – like individual nut packets, crackers w/ cheese or pb, beef/turkey jerky
  • (1) box of macaroni and cheese
  • (2) cans and/or single serve microwavable beefaroni, ravioli, spaghettios w/meatballs, or similar kid-friendly meals

*Included in the free Starter Kit.

The Joy Factor

These optional, non-food items make the child feel special and often help make the trip to the food pantry more enjoyable. 

No Cost Ideas – A fun note or your child’s favorite riddle to bring smiles and laughs. 

Other Ideas – A surprise item such as a pencil, eraser, small notebook, stickers, washable marker, slime or other fun item for a child aged 12 and under.

Free Starter Kits

Open Table has access to food items that we ask to be included in each Kids’ Bag. We welcome the opportunity to supply these to your group – free of charge, for you to pack in addition to the items you collect. This helps you, our donor:

  1. focus your group’s resources on the other food items (see Fill the Bags) that we cannot easily obtain and
  2. keep the cost of this activity down for you.

The Starter Kit includes:

  • paper bags with handles
  • oatmeal packets
  • shelf-stable milk
  • juice boxes
  • fruit and/or applesauce cups

Your Open Table Community Coordinator can work with you if you wish to put together food bags but would like help procuring any of the other items on the list (see Fill the Bags): We want to ensure this activity is accessible to all while also meeting the needs of our youngest clients. 

Your Open Table Community Coordinator will organize delivery/pick-up of the Starter Kit with you.

Delivering Kids' Bags

Kid’s bags can be delivered to our 33 Main Street, Maynard location any time during our regular business hours. If you have a smaller number of Kid’s bags, they can be left at any of our donation bin locations. If you need help with delivery of your donation, please contact us at [email protected]. Thank you!

Share the Love!

Share with Friends

Take pictures of your activity and post them on your social media and tag @opentablema! We ♡ this!

Share with Us

Send your pictures to [email protected] so we may thank and acknowledge your group’s generosity through our standard media outlets. When you send images, please be sure:

  • Images are high resolution
  • Note name of group & event
  • Indicate that the photos are approved for public use*

Assure You Have Permission

*Important – Please be sure you have permission of all those shown in the photo (and parental permission for children) before sending images to us. These photos may be used on Open Table social media. 

Consider photos of people from behind or images of their hands if you choose not to show faces of participants.