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Coloring from Coast to Coast

When we decorate bags, we create this small, impactful positive experience in hopes that it is a part of the equation of support that helps kids thrive.  

People all over the country are joining the momentum! 

Namie and Stephanie Naito 

Namie Nato is 92 years old and lives in California. Her daughter, Stephanie, started decorating bags through her work at Meijer during the pandemic, and she had an idea. When she was finally able to visit her mother, she brought a stack of brown bags with her. Her mother took to decorating them immediately.  

“I think we colored 100 bags that weekend, and we haven’t stopped,” shared Stephanie.  

On each bag, Namie writes an encouraging message and draws a colorful image, usually of produce, which reminds her of her childhood on a farm. “We never felt we had to eat vegetables. We just ate them because we grew them,” Namie reflected, “It’s important that all kids can eat vegetables.” 

For Namie’s family, it has been a joy to see her engage in art therapy through bag decorating. It has also been a gift to watch her write kind messages on each bag. When we talked to Namie, she had 500 bags to send home with her daughter to West Michigan. 

Washington Township High School 

Impact is magnified when classmates get together to make a difference. Most school programs who decorate bags drop them off at one of our three locations. However, Washington Township High School had a delivery that was too far to drive! 

We received a mailed package of decorated bags from the Sewell, New Jersey school in May. We are honored that these students thought of our community. The decorating activity was successful in the school, with the educator who mailed them noting that the idea was passed on to her colleagues! 


Christine Taylor, AKA @Catayl50

Christine Taylor was looking for a way to volunteer her time with kids after retiring from a long career in science. Her daughter, an art student, gave her the idea to decorate bags. 

Though Christine is local to the Holland area, she posts each bag on Instagram, where shares her works of wonder with the world. She numbers the bottom of each bag and writes an extra message of encouragement in pen on the bottom.  

“It’s about letting kids know how important they are, which I care deeply about,” she shared. “Kids’ Food Basket packs the inside with food and nutrition. I pack the outside with love and encouragement.” 

We decorate bags to remind kids that their community cares about them, and that they matter. We encourage everyone to engage in this act of simple, creative volunteerism. 


Thank you to everyone who has decorated bags for Brown Bag Decorating Month! Your donation of time and talent has spread joy across West Michigan.