• The Brown Paper Bag Project!

    by  • December 13, 2012 • Uncategorized • 12 Comments

    This is a project designed to inspire you to be of service in fun and creative ways.  You sign up and I will mail you a randomly chosen paper bag.  In the bag may be money (bills or change), a gift card, a note card, a lotto ticket, stickers, and more. You are to use the contents of the bag in an act of service.  You then document what you did (you can write it, do a video, write a song, take a picture, do an interpretive dance), and I will share it on the blog.   You can refill the bag and pass it on for someone else to use. The bag has a sticker on it with all of the instructions!

    Early next week I will send out a minimum of 50 bags. And then will send bags out monthly. You can sign up to participate in the side bar.  I anticipate a waiting list.  If the waiting list gets to long, I will close it for a while and re-open when spaces are available. I am currently only sending bags out to folks with US addresses.

    Don’t want to wait?  You can make some bags yourself! Here is the wording that I use on the bags:

    Inside this bag is a gift.

    It is a gift for you to give.
    Please use the contents of this bag in act of service, whatever that means to you.After you share the goodness and do your act of service please report back to JoAnna@TheBrownPaperBagProject.com  (words, pictures, videos and more are welcome!)

    You are invited to fill the bag back up and pass it on. 

    This project is chronicled at http://www.thebrownpaperbagproject.com

    Thanks and have fun

    I did this once before in 2009 and it was AWESOME! People were creative and generous beyond my wildest dreams.  I am so excited to share it with a wider audience of peeps.

    I am funding this.  It is my service project.  If you would like to help out (cash, gift cards, anything that can fit easily in an envelope) that would be super. Email me at joanna@thebrownpaperbagproject.com and let’s talk.

    What do you mean I service?

    For me, service is an opportunity to uplift.  Service is a beautiful act of spreading love and kindness. It feels good for the person (or thing) that is served as well for the server.

    And yes, I do realize that some folks might sign up and use the contents of the bag for themselves. If that’s what happens…then they obviously needed it.  That counts as service.  I am willing to take the risk and trust in the awesomeness of my peeps.


    12 Responses to The Brown Paper Bag Project!

    1. December 14, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Jo Anna I LOVE LOVE LOVE this project! It reminds me of our packapocket mums’ project we did in 2011 and since you are not mailing outside the US, it inspires me to think maybe we could do something similar in the UK in 2013 (for us it would probably be mum-specific, some sort of ‘pass it on’ mums’ emergency brown paper bag…?) when I have a moment more time, I will think how we could do that and come back to you. You are so generous and inspiring, wonderful woman xx

    2. December 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      What a great idea! Spreading love and kindness one brown bag at a time! <3

    3. December 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      I’m so excited about this project! I’m already thinking of the service aspect, lol!
      I’ve just started working as team lead on the local mental health peer support warm (talk) line and our office is located inside the mental health clinic’s drop-in center. The majority of my peers utilizing the drop-in center are extremely low income and a brown paper bag would light up their lives in wondrous ways. I can envision continuing this on a monthly basis (more, if my income allows). Yes! I want to participate!
      I continue to be awestruck at your generosity, and love the creative thinking that birthed this project. Thank you :)

    4. Sally
      December 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Hi Jo Anna, I’m totally with Pipp here. Would love to do something like this in the UK. Would you have any objections if I share your idea please? I will of course give credit to you.

      • admin
        December 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

        Sally, no objections at all! I would love if you used used the same wording on the paper bags…or something similar. That way we can track the awesomeness that happens!!

        • December 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm

          Hey Sally, maybe we could link up somehow? I’m at http://www.storyofmum.com, and I’m actually called Pippa, don’t know where I put that other a…. x

      • Jodi
        December 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm

        Hey Sally,
        I’m really interested in starting something like this in the UK also, do you have an ideas of how we could go about it?

    5. Betsy CP
      December 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      love, love, love this idea!! I can already imagine the people I could touch with this. It’s a perfect way to share holidays and love all at once.

    6. December 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      OMG – I’m SO excited you’re doing this. I remember how cool it was when you did it when we were readers at USM. I’m totally in! You are the most awesome of awesome!

    7. Jm Monroe
      December 15, 2012 at 1:26 am

      Thank you for such a wonderful idea and I hope people will build on the idea on their own too!!! I am in

    8. Sally
      December 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Thank you Jo I’m starting to getting my head around how I can share this on my newsletter and websites over the next few days. And yes Pippa let’s think about how we can link up. My sites are http://www.sallycanning.com and http://www.innersolutions-uk.com

      This feels really exciting and important YAY!!

    9. Pingback: 26 acts of kindness: the paper bag project |

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