AARP AARP States Maryland Events

Join AARP Maryland as We Pack "Boxes o' Joy" for Communities in Need


Every year, AARP Maryland staff members and volunteers honor the memory of the lives lost on September 11, 2001 with a major service project.

In the past, we have participated in large-scale meal packing events on the National Mall, created emergency preparedness packages for the Eastern Shore, cleaned our school learning park in Baltimore City, and packaged items for veterans across the state.


This year we are inviting you to help us pack emergency meal boxes with nutritious, shelf stable foods for a homebound senior or adult with disabilities. Register HERE.

Who will receive the boxes?
The packages, dubbed Box o' Joy, will be distributed to clients of hunger relief organizations for use in the event they are unable to make a scheduled delivery (due to inclement weather or other emergency situations), as well as to those in need of immediate food assistance.

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How does the program work?
You can register to receive the foldable shoe-box sized boxes in the mail with a list of suggested shelf-stable items to include. On the morning of October 18, place the boxes on your porch for an AARP volunteer to collect, contact-free.

Those who pack 3 or more boxes will receive a special thank you grab bag on the spot or in the mail.

Detailed directions will be emailed to you and/or provided to you at registration.


What is the timeline?

Sign up to receive box(s) via mail:  August 31-Sept 20
Boxes mailed to individual homes:  Sept 20-Oct 1
Fill boxes:  Sept 20-Oct 18
Return filled boxes by:  Oct 18

What to Pack in Your Box
Please include single servings of the following shelf stable food items. These foods have been selected to meet the nutritional needs of an older adult for one day. All food must be in original, sealed, manufacturer’s packaging.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept homemade items, or food reapportioned into smaller containers. Please consider the sodium and sugar content, as well as the ease of opening containers when making food selections, but anything you might enjoy eating will most certainly also be enjoyed by our homebound friends.

Items should be packed in the box provided by AARP Maryland. Please do NOT tape the box shut. You may add a short message of good cheer and your first name only but please do not include any contact information or religious messages (out of sensitivity for the recipients).

  • Single serve container(s) (box, can, or bottle) of 100% juice (1 - 2 items)
  • Single serving canned, instant or shelf stable soup, stew, or casserole (easy open tops)
  • Canned meat or fish (tuna, ham, chicken)
  • Individual serving of shelf stable milk (1- 2) or one can of evaporated milk
  • Single serve cups or cans of fruits and vegetables (2 - 3 items)
  • Single serve cups of ready to eat pudding (1 - 2 items)
  • Single serve box of cold cereal or
  • Single serve packet of instant hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat)
  • Single serve, sealed packet of dried fruits (apricots, prunes, etc.) (1 - 2 items)
  • Single serve packets (2- 4) or a small jar of peanut butter
  • Single serve, sealed packets of crackers, cheese crackers, granola bars and/or snack bars (Please avoid nut bars or extra crunchy options since folks may have dental issues)

You may also choose to add a treat or surprise like hot chocolate packets, individually wrapped tea bags or coffee, individual wrapped packs of cookies, colorful napkins, a small puzzle, a word search, or crossword puzzle book.

*Please be sensitive to the varied beliefs and customs of our participants as you select items or include greeting cards.

Thank you for volunteering with AARP Maryland for our annual September 11 Service Project.

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About AARP Maryland
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