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Volunteer of the Week Brown Bag Decorating Day Edition: Mary

Mary decorated over 2500 bags to donate!

How did you first hear about Kids’ Food Basket and decide to get involved?
I first heard about Kids’ Food Basket at my job at Amway from our Corporate Responsibility Team.  I have decorated bags for more than 10 years.

Why did you decide to start decorating bags?
I just love working on KFB bags.  It gives me the opportunity to use my creative side. I also love knowing that the company I have worked for, for 25 years this coming November, supports KFB in so many ways and encourages us to do the same.  Amway encourages us to “Give Back.”  I am a receptionist and when I do not have a project to work on, it is okay for me to use my time here to add a touch of love to a brown bag for Sack Suppers, where children are receiving some much-needed nutritious healthy food.

How did bag decorating help you cope with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Well, funny you should ask that…  I was feeling rather glum about the COVID-19 effects on families and children.   I didn’t think it would be acceptable for us to work on KFB bags at home.  When I found out we could, I reached out to my friend and stopped by his home a few times to pick up bags to take home and decorate.  Working on the bags while at home, gave me a PURPOSE.  I felt like I was really doing something important.  You see, I do not just decorate the bags – I pray over them as well.  I Pray that the kids receiving food in these bags will lead an honest, productive and blessed life.  I also do not just draw on the bag, I like to give the kids something to do as well. I put games, puzzles, pictures to color, riddles and jokes to think about. I change up what I put on the bags and often include educational items.

 Why do you think it is important that children and families of West Michigan have access to healthy food? Everyone needs healthy food.  I am just happy to help in this small and simple way.  Someday, when I retire, I want to be a volunteer that comes into Kids’ Food Basket and helps to prepare the food and Sack Suppers for distribution.  Everyone at Amway that knows me, knows that KFB is near and dear to my heart. Someday I will achieve my goal and be able to volunteer in person at KFB.  I hope I represent Amway well and am an inspiration to others.

Decorated bags add a touch of love to every Sack Supper – why do you think that is important?
Everyone needs to feel loved. If a simple decoration on a bag gives that love, then I am all for it.  I once had a guest in my lobby that saw my passion for Kids’ Food Basket. I was able to explain to her and others over the years what KFB is, and why I can do this while at work – or at home during the pandemic. The next time she came to Amway, she blessed me with a huge book of stickers and a few other things like markers and colored pencils to use to decorate bags.

Why should someone support Kids’ Food Basket? Is bag decorating a good way to get involved?
Supporting Kids’ Food Basket is a very rewarding experience. Given the opportunity to do something else over decorating bags, I would choose to decorate bags every time.  Kids’ Food Basket goes through thousands of bags every day, which is thousands of children and families that are being fed healthy and nutritious food.  The need is out there so I am happy to help. Volunteering in different ways, gives me a purpose of providing hope to those that are in need, which in turn fills my heart.