Breakfast Bags Bonanza
Homeless and often foster children are among the highest numbers of students receiving free and
reduced meaals at school. Over extended school breaks like Thanksgiving and Winter recess, we want to
make sure food insecure children receive breakfast --the most important meal of the day. That's why
we created Breakfast Bags Bonanza in 2016.
Breakfast Bags Bonanza rallies the community's support to help provide individual servings of
breakfast food items that are packaged in lunch-size brown paper bags. The bags are distributed
to children at area homeless shelters and transitional housing programs, foster care group homes
and orphanages, local community feeding programs and Title I schools. To date, we have
provided more than 5,000 bags of breakfast. In our first two years, we provided at least one
breakfast meal to 2,776 children in Harford and Baltimore counties, and Baltimore city. In 2019, We Cancerve began providing multiple bags to each child at the places we serve to ensure the children can eat throughout the entire school break.
This is possible because of the generous donations of local community supporters including Bimbo Bakeries, Giant Food, local schools and others.
Here's how companies, schools and church youth groups typically help:
Contact We Cancerve and let us know you're interested in helping with this project. There are opportunities for small and large groups to help over a one-day or multi-day period. Simply email us and tell us your interests and we'll walk you through the next steps!
Determine how many bags you'd like to fill then sponsor a food drive to collect breakfast items for We Cancerve's Breakfast Bags Bonanza. The idea is to collect enough food to fill each bag with the same types of food. That way, if bags are given to siblings or children otherwise sharing housing, their bags will have similar items. The items are typically: one cereal (oatmeal or dry cereal); one cereal bar (granola or fruit and grain); one breakfast pastry (muffin, donut or toaster pastry); one fruit cup (applesauce or diced fruit); fruit snack (fruit gummies or raisins) and a beverage (shelf-sustainable milk, water or fruit juice).
Schools who adopt this project also host fundraisers such as penny wars to help purchase items for the breakfast bags.
Once you know how many bags you'd like to fill, host a coloring party and decorate the front of individual-size brown paper bags. (The bags going to each shelter, group home or orphanage must be the same size. We typically purchase these bags.) Use crayons and colored pencils to draw Fall and Winter themes on the bags such as pumpkins, leaves, trees, ornaments and snowmen. Refrain from including personal and religious messages. Rely more on images than words. You may also rely on coloring pages that can be cut out and lightly glued to each bag.
Sponsor a stuffing party! Invite your participants and We Cancerve to a great space that allows you set up an assembly line to fill the bags. It's really important that all bags are stuffed with same or similar items of the same quantity. We Cancerve will identify the recipient organizations.
Place labels on the back of each bag that let's our recipients know that your organization has teamed with We Cancerve on this project.
Would you like your youth to help us deliver the bags to the shelters and to youth in foster care? Let us know. We'll make every effort to arrange this opportunity with you.
Interested in a short-term volunteer opportunity? Steps two through five can be supported a la carte! Contact us if you're interested in doing only one or a few - but not all - of these. Your help is welcome.