Make Lunch Hour Meaningful

“Pick my left pocket of its silver dime, but spare the right – it holds my golden time! “

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

Today I took the afternoon off so that I could teach Art Literacy at my daughter’s school. Even though it wasn’t her class, I had a little extra vacation time, and there was a need for a presenter. It “cost” me a couple hours of PTO (Paid Time Off, or vacation) but it was worth it.

Time clock at wookey hole cave museum

For a long time, I only used my vacations for, well, vacation. And I only used my lunch hours for, well, lunch. Over the years though I’ve come to realize that those daily hours can be filled in much more meaningful ways than food.

Here are some volunteer ideas that I found feasible and worthwhile for a lunch hour or a half day of vacation.

  • Teach once a week at a local school.
  • Help move boxes of food at your local food bank.
  • Micro-volunteer with
  • Write a letter to an “adopted soldier” or a terminally-ill child.
  • Move your lunch hour around if necessary and attend a school volunteer meeting.
  • Take your child to lunch or go to the school and have lunch with them.
  • Volunteer to do some paperwork for a local non-profit or club over the lunch hour.
  • Run an errand for someone.
  • Shop for a birthday or holiday present for someone you know.
  • Pick up some trash by your office. (Bring your gloves and a sack)
  • Check-in on a sick friend.
  • Be an officer at a Toastmasters club that meets over lunch.
  • Before you dine out, take a canned food donation to a local food bank or shelter.
  • Visit a charity site like and give some time. You can find several here.
  • Run, walk, or exercise. (For yourself, but it’s harder to give if you’re not in shape)
  • Talk with a homeless person. They may appreciate the companionship.

Those are just a few suggestions. There are certainly many others. However you spend your lunch hour, you can get more from it if you do something for someone else.

Plus, if you don’t dine out, you save money. Not a bad deal.

Today’s gift of time … Taught Art Literacy at my daughter’s school for the 8th graders. It was a good way to spend a couple hours of vacation … Also, the school secretaries found a tricycle on school grounds. Per their request, put a lost and found note on the reader board.

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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3 Responses to Make Lunch Hour Meaningful

  1. jeff noel says:

    Eric, great, creative list. The clock is always ticking. Time is the great resource everyone gets the same amount of each day.

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