The Free Lunch Movement


You may have heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch. This is untrue on every level, and also a terrible lie.

Over and over throughout our short lives, all of us have been given something for nothing. We don’t deserve free lunch, yet it continues to arrive on a regular basis.

No charge, ma’am. This one’s on me, sir.

Those of us who are proud don’t like the idea of free lunch. “I pay my own way, you see.” But not so fast. We haven’t always paid our own way.

Think back—think way back, if necessary, to a time when someone gave you something you didn’t deserve. Was that fair? No. Were you in a position to refuse? No.

Life’s not fair! Of course it’s not. Most of the time, we don’t get what we deserve.


Free lunch first arrives through random acts of birth.

In my case, I could have been born in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Sierra Leone is a beautiful country, but I’m glad I was born in Virginia instead. In Sierra Leone, almost 20% of children die before the age of five.

Assuming I made it past my fifth birthday, the next big obstacle would be education. True, I dropped out of high school in the U.S. and never did learn algebra, but somehow I managed to hack my way through several college degrees. In Sierra Leone, my struggle would be going to elementary school, learning to read, and not being forced into an army of child soldiers.

Of course, if I had been born a girl instead of a boy, the odds would have been all the more daunting, and the obstacles even more severe. The point is: free lunch first came my way in the biological lottery, and I was born a boy in Virginia instead of a girl in Freetown.

Free lunch then extends beyond mere demographics.

I think back to people I knew years ago. We all had dreams of change and adventure, but many of them remain stuck, still living the same life and doing the same things they always did.

Are they bad people? I don’t think so. Could they have made different choices to avoid getting stuck? Sure, of course. I’m proud of the choices I’ve made that have led me to where I am now.

But I also know there’s more to it. In addition to the good choices, I’ve also made plenty of other choices I’m not so proud of. How do those choices factor in? How come I’m not living a life set in motion by the bad decisions I’ve made?

I enjoy stories about individuals overcoming adversity, “rising above it all,” going on to “win against the odds.” I value self-reliance; I believe in the relentless pursuit of a big dream.

But we have also been fortunate, many times over, through chance and the generosity of others. Sometimes, things come along at just the right moment to create a major change for the better. Do we deserve such a sudden appearance of fortuitousness? Probably not, but there it is. Free lunch.


My contention is that everyone who reads this blog has been given many free lunches, many times over. You and I have stood at the counter with our money in hand, only to have it turned away with a smile.

We’ve been taken inside the restaurant by someone who gave us something we didn’t deserve.

We jumped the queue and violated all the norms of justice—”It’s not fair! Look at everyone else who has to pay!”

We live in an age of few limits, with countless opportunities to become who we really are instead of following a set path dictated by others. We can craft the life of our dreams, we can live without borders, we can choose from more options than ever before in history.

These facts deserve frequent reflection, and better yet, they deserve acting upon.

And what does this world of opportunity require of us?

In short, we must live differently.

This choice, made continuously—to drop keys instead of building cages, to freely give and freely receive. The choice is deceptively simple: anyone can make it at any time.

Yet it is difficult because it requires a change of mindset from the prevailing norms. You don’t join the Free Lunch Movement by liking it on Facebook or posting a badge on your blog. There is no membership card or application process.

Instead, you must choose to show compassion.

Note that you do not need to choose compassion over ambition—most people who have changed the world have been fairly ambitious.

But you must look around you, aware of all the free lunches you’ve been given along the way, determined to pay them back in the form of free lunch dividends to other people.

You could even make this the focus of your whole existence. What should I do with my life? many of us wonder.

Here’s one answer: you can give out free lunch.

You don’t need a mentor or anyone else to tell you how to do this. If you think about it, you already know people who need your help. You know things you can do. (If not, start paying attention … it won’t take long.)

Free lunch, everyone! There really is such a thing. Are you in?

I hope to see you at the lunch counter.


Image: Pants

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  • Julia Barthold says:

    Well, thanks for this lunch, Chris. I had a moment of incredibly bad luck today and therefore enjoyed the reminder of all the times life sent some good luck my way.

  • misha says:

    Food for thought not just for the free lunch. Thanks for making me think about all the good things I have been given and also how I can share.

  • Dara Poznar says:

    I’m in!

  • Melba Aguilar says:

    I was busy feeling discouraged and wondering why I’m meeting nothing but walls recently when this came along. Thanks for the re-direction and free lunch.

  • katana says:

    I love it. Yes! That is it – there are many free lunches I do not get, being who I am, and some people are angry about those lunches lacked — but there are other free lunches (hello, dentist’s chair) that I do get (Canadian Native American — this particular lunch cost my ancestors, well, all their lunches)

    I am also living a beautiful life with a sweetheart husband, and that is the best lunch. I tried to eat other lunches that were neither free nor so healthy, and it is indeed puzzling that I am not still at those tables, and I am very very grateful for current lunch.

    LUNCH Lunch. lunch lunch lunch.

    …I shall go eat mine now!

  • Candice says:

    I’m always amazed by people who claim they’ve “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” especially in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Dig a little more deeply into their story and there’s always some amount of good fortune not of their own creation. I’ve certainly enjoyed my own share. So, yes. Free lunch for everyone. I’m in!

  • julia bloom says:

    So, so true. Thanks for this great reminder and challenge. From the second Julia B to comment today 🙂

  • Andrea Giesler says:

    Thanks for the reminder.
    I`m in too 🙂

  • Jeannie Leighton says:

    I give free lunches however I can, even if it’s a smile and light conversation to a total stranger at the grocery store. You’d be surprised how much that means to someone. I’ve been blessed by free lunches throughout my life and do my best to give them away whenever I can.

  • Sophie Lizard says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I like to think there’s a kind of Giant Free Lunch Pail in the Sky, from which we get handouts and into which we should throw something nutritious in return.

  • Cary says:

    Beautiful post. Grace.

  • John Bardos - JetSetCitizen says:

    Another way to describe the ‘free lunch’ is winning the ‘ovarian lottery’ as Warren Buffet describes it.

    The fact that we are reading this post on a computer, with internet access, electricity and everything that entails, means that we are damn lucky.

    It is easy to attribute our relative successes to our own talent or intelligence, but we shouldn’t overlook our good fortune of being born in the right time and place.

    There are billions of people still living on a few dollars a day. Perhaps, we need to remember that the next time we are at a shopping mall. It wouldn’t take much of our incomes to ensure that the entire planet had access to the basic necessities of food, water, clothing and shelter.

  • linda klain says:

    Me too!

  • Frank Bonetti says:

    It feels good to give out free lunch. Everyone needs a hand from time to time – why not be the person to provide it?

  • LaurenL says:

    “Fair” and “unfair” do not exist in nature. Life just is. I love my free lunch everyday: the ability to create, to think, to assess, to enjoy, to laugh and cry, to wake up and decide how to travel my own particular road, to read, to eliminate the beliefs that cripple me from travelling that road. Yes, I am grateful I was born a girl in Washington state with an intelligent father who did not discriminate between his sons and daughters. And that I have the freedom to “take the road less travelled”. Here’s to enjoying that free lunch everyday of my life!

  • Leslie says:

    At first I thought this article was going to be about a project in China that gives free lunches to schoolchildren in poor areas. That project has been really revolutionary for its transparency and use of Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter).

    I love the direction you’ve taken this article. I’ve been incredibly lucky in my 28 years — lots of free lunches. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to reflect on this, as well as how I can help provide free lunches for other people who might be offered them less often.

  • Thomas says:

    Well said! I need to read this every day to remind myself more can be done to help others.

  • Susan T. Blake says:

    Hmm, this is about the 5th time in one week that someone has raised the phenomenon of recognizing doors that are opened for us and choosing to walk through them. Thanks for the reminder that we open doors, too. I’m definitely in!

  • Heidi says:

    Thank you so much for this whack over the head! I needed it today! Why is I know this and must always be reminded????

  • kristine says:

    Such a great post. I think sometimes we get caught up because we have all of these ideas of how things ‘should’ be or somehow think we don’t deserve it rather than simply embracing it with gratitude. Learning to let go of excuses and simply say ‘yes’ has drastically changed my life for the better.

  • David Clarke says:

    I had this idea with my business a few months back offering people a free load of ironing (I have an ironing service) with the hook line there is such a thing as a free lunch, ie, using the money saved to go to lunch. Wonderful post, so simple but very powerful, also, it has a fun element to it. I really need to get to the world domination, next year, thanks for your great efforts.

  • brenda says:

    i think about this stroke of good fortune i’ve had every day!

  • Thomas says:

    So very true. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Darlene says:

    Chris – funny how timely your posts are sometimes, it actually freaks me out a little!

    I have a “lunch” date with a past student of mine tomorrow (photography student) to discuss well – her life. She hates her job, and wants out but is over 35 and feels like she has to go back to college or university to get this or that degree to change careers. I’ve told her to get your book, in fact I’m going to lend her my copy tomorrow and start to think outside the box. She’s so engrained in the traditional model of our society that she feels she has no value or skills but I’m sure she has plenty.

    I will now be buying her lunch to give her that free lunch you’re talking about – literally and figuratively.

  • Darlene says:

    PS Sophie I just had to say I loved your avatar image so much it compelled me to go to your site to see what you’re all about!

  • Josh DenHartog says:

    The phrase “no such thing as a free lunch” usually refers to opportunity cost. That is in accepting one opportunity, you are giving up the opportunity to do something else at that same time.

  • Betsy Rowbottom says:

    Spot on, Chris. I’m in! I’m part of the free lunch movement. Being a “go-giver” instead of being a celebrated “go-getter” is the best way to practice a consciousness that I have more than I need. Great post! Thank you!

  • Rich Proctor says:

    Literally one of the best blog posts I have ever read.

    Thank you!

  • Tish says:

    What I love about free lunches is they usually come when I least expect it. I know that might sound odd but some days I am begging (to myself) for a free lunch, a leg up or possibly a bit of compassion….
    It won’t show if you look for it but when it does, there is nothing better, nothing sweeter. Cheers to free lunches and Mondays!
    As always- thanks Chris

  • Susan Elcox says:

    I think this is what President Obama was referring to a couple of weeks ago when he said “If you own a small business you didn’t build it.” He was trying to say that there are a lot of other factors that play into your small business success: democracy, freedom to do what you want, roads & bridges, mentors, and so on. Good post. Yes, we’ve all had some free lunches in our lives.

  • Dale says:

    I loved the picture! It looks like it’s from the American Tobacco Complex in Durham, NC…

  • Carol says:

    I’m in. I’ve been both a beneficiary and a giver of the free lunch. Sometimes the potential target of a free lunch would find it insulting (erroneously) so I try to present it as an honor and not a handout. Silly misplaced pride. So many people will hand out that free lunch but would be horrified if offered one. Doesn’t that minimize the those who accepted – those they gifted? Just say thank you.

    Thank you.

  • Hope says:

    A “free lunch” isn’t free when someone, somewhere has to “pay”. But this is a good reminder that not only should we be grateful when we are on the “free” end, but we should also be willing to be the one who pays sometimes. When we do something kind to let someone else have a free ride, is paying it forward and living a life of giving.

  • Kelsey says:

    Love this. So true. #gratitude

  • Ginger Killion says:

    Thank you for the reminder we all need. I’m in.

  • TC Spear says:

    The masterful art of unconventional giving; way to go Chris! Absolutely, we’ve all been given much. Much opportunity, capability, and when we’re really gifted we receive the right measure of inspiration to combine our capabilities with an opportunity.

    World travel sheds light on the many free lunches enjoyed in this land of the USA, and other developed countries. Though I have benefited from many valuable free lunches – perhaps the most valuable has been the opportunity to afford mass failure (as measured by the objectives of a venture), and retain the opportunity to re-launch myself.

    -TC Spear live 4.2, no longer the 80’s beta version

  • Pamela Paulien says:

    Ever since I was a little girl I have thought about this. I thought about inherently unfair it is for me to find it so easy to get access to the good stuff because of the color of my skin, while others whose families have a much longer history in this country are actively blocked at almost every turn. Yes, I’ve had a free lunch and it keeps me humble and generous. I love the idea of dropping keys. Thanks Chris!

  • deborah says:

    Brillant and so easily forgotten by my monkey mind.

  • Christine Counelis says:

    Thanks. Putting finishing touch on free desserts! Eat them first. Life is famously uncertain.

  • Mandy says:

    Great thoughts. I’m trying to stop thinking about everything in terms of monetary value, and think more on a humanitarian level. You’re right, I’ve been given so many opportunities for “free.” One was a great job, another a sudden windfall of cash, healthy children, and too many gifts to count. Presently, I feel stuck and unable to move myself in a positive direction. The only obstacle is in my own mind. Thanks for reminding me of all of the accomplishments and gifts I’ve already been blessed with.

  • John Richardson says:

    Jeff Goins has a new book coming out this week called “Wrecked.” It’s about what happens when you encounter the people of the world who are less fortunate than you. This may be on a mission trip or just a journey to your local homeless shelter. The wrecked part means you’ll never be the same. Your comfortable life is upset. I highly recommend this book… But it will mess you up… Guaranteed!

  • Carla says:

    The skillet upside the head was very much needed. A beloved cousin left this dimension of our world, today. She was a “cooker and server of free lunches.” She inspires me, as does this timely article. I clearly see you are not an accidental messenger, just as all those lunches out there are not accidental. A humble thank you is in order.

  • The Professor says:

    I disagree — almost completely. For me, sacrifice is at the heart of anything worth thinking about. The whole game of life is about turning what you sacrifice into something positive and not negative.

    In other words, the only free lunch is the one you give, not the one you receive.

    Great post! Insightful.

    Mark Blasini

  • Forrest Snyder says:

    I’ve always called what you call “free lunch” something else. I call it grace. And giving and receiving grace is a high calling.

  • Jo says:

    I’m always aware of the fact that I’m luckier than most of my friends but thanks for reminding me of the bigger picture, Chris.

    I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly helpful person. I’m one of those people who gets really awkward when someone’s upset or hurt – I’m not very maternal and I’m quite introverted. It was AONC which first made me realise that I could really help people out in less obvious ways and that helping people can (has to?) go hand in hand with ambition.

    In fact, now my “mission” for my life is to be to be creative enough to live the way I want to live and to help others to do the same, which I’m starting to do with my blog. I would never have thought that I would base my life on helping others, so thank you for inspiring that part of it. Of course providing others with value is the best thing you can do – it’s obvious when you think about it but something which most of us miss.

  • Jeff Yates says:

    This post reminds me of the time I was in a tea house outside Yangon in Burma, waiting for a late bus, when two complete strangers sitting next to me and a dear travel mate (also a complete stranger only days before) insisted on buying our teas as a thank you for the conversation. Later that trip, I complained of a sore elbow to a train companion to find after the next stop he’d gone out and bought me some analgesic balm. These kindnesses, unremarkable in their original context, are almost unthinkable back in the US. But this post reminds me that they do happen.

    It’s funny, I only really began to develop a deep sense of compassion once I’d really experienced my own freedom through quitting my job and traveling the world. It seems that the more grateful we are, the more giving we become. So I think Chris is right to get us thinking about how lucky we are in our own lives, because if gratitude breeds generosity, then one free lunch can become a whole lot more.

  • Henway says:

    As someone who survived 9/11 (I worked in one of the towers) I can definitely get behind this idea. Ever since that day, my attitude towards life has changed, and instead of asking what I was missing in my life, I just appreciated what I already HAD.. which is a LOT.

  • Jeff says:

    Some call it grace. Others call it their entitlement. I’m in for/with the grace folks.

  • Rod says:

    A thought provoking mental exercise.First the cliche ,some associated thoughts then something else.True thoughts seperate from this cliche’s normal paradigm.This reminded me of a verse from the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures Ecclesiastes 9:11
    “I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race,nor the mighty ones the battle,nor do the wise also have the food,nor do the understanding ones also have the riches,nor do even those having knowlege have the favor;because time & unforceen occurence befall them all.”

  • Asta says:

    I was recently given (free with absolutely no strings attached) a reliable, family car – something our family needed. I call it the God Car. I am all for paying it forward. I love this free lunch movement idea. I think I have been in it for a while! Awesome post. Asta x

  • cheryl says:

    So timely. I’ve been given so many free lunches in my life after being written off by family, teachers and society and had the nerve to complain about a bad meeting this morning as if the world was going to end. Focused on giving a free lunch tomorrow. Thank you.

  • Juan Cruz Jr says:

    Chris, excellent post. Compassion is needed in greater doses. I am part of the compassion ministry in my church, for that same reason – freely I have received, freely I will give. I am glad you posted this.

  • Ionie says:

    Great post. I have received so many free lunches so far and continue to receive. Handing out myself all the time keeps bringing back to me as well. Do to others as you would have it done to you. Yet this comes naturally and nothing makes me happier than ‘giving free lunches’ not expecting any returns. I get them anyhow

  • TIm says:

    I’m making it a goal to buy someone lunch someday. Just say “Hey, let me pay for that table over there.”

  • Jon says:

    “Selfishness, control, and fear will break almost any relationship. Generosity, freedom, and love will create the most beautiful relationship: an ongoing romance. ” Don Miguel Ruiz: The Mastery of Love.

  • Melanie Lamaga says:

    I couldn’t agree more on both of your major points: first that we have been fortunate more often than we realize and that many of us have more choices than we realize. We live in a time of unprecedented freedom (in the free world). Gratitude is a huge force in changing our own perceptions and attitudes and opening doors.

  • Yamile Yemoonyah says:

    Just today I paid someone’s bus fare because he was on his way to the airport to fly back to Germany and had no $US left. He was about to walk there but I knew I wouldn’t miss the $2.10 he needed for the fare. He asked me how he could pay me back and I told him to just help someone else in need in the future.

  • Tammy Helfrich says:

    Great post. I have definitely been given many free lunches in my life. I consistently try to pay it forward and keep my eyes open for how I can make an impact right where I am. Thanks for the reminders!

  • Erick Widman says:

    Superb insight. I’m seeing it over and over again that the people who are happiest are those that live lives of gratitude and freely give to others. If someone mistakenly believes “I earned something 100% by myself” then he’ll miss out on gratitude and it will be harder for him to give.

  • savitha says:

    You articulate very well what i have felt always. Thanks.

  • Stephanie says:

    Wooow I’m in! Very inspiring post.

    Lately I am very busy with myself, my business, my own development.

    And as much as I know that being self centered in this way is good for not only me but also for people around me… this is a good reminder to pay a little more attention to the people who can use some free lunches!

    Thanks Chris!

  • Bastiaan Reinink says:

    You know what? Free lunch tastes better than the one you pay for yourself!

  • Todd Valentini says:

    Outstanding reminder to be grateful for the free lunches we’ve received. This comes at a time when the free lunch I bought for another was thrown back in my face. Your positive reminder to keep the faith is most helpful.

  • Rene says:

    Serendipity rules…there was an article in our paper today about the local food bank being in dire need of basic food supplies. I am going to the grocery store to stock up and bring them ‘free lunch’…..thanks for a great post.

  • Bonnie Pond says:

    Beautiful post and thank you for reminding us all of the many, many free lunches we’ve been blessed with. I’ve often heard it said that “Gratitude is an attitude.” Living with that attitude — and looking for things to be grateful for — changes your perspective.

    No matter what our circumstances, each of us has something to be grateful for and each of us has the ability to pass that gratitude on to others in the form of kind acts, a helping hand, or even just being there to listen when someone else is having a rough time.

  • Kim Kircher says:

    Free Lunch indeed. The first step in providing generosity to others is to become aware of our own good fortune. Instead of being afraid of scarcity, we can embrace abundance. Not only has the world given us enough, we have some to spare. Thanks for this lovely reminder.

  • Jones says:

    While I agree that the themes and ideas in this article are very nice, I do feel they are based on the wrong understanding of “a free lunch”. Not from a biological sense but from an economical one. The premise of there being “no free lunch” is that everything has a cost associated with it. I may buy you or give you something when you do not deserve, but the fact remains it cost me something so it is not entirely free. In actuality, that something you have been given has cost me twice from the perspective of a business relationship: Nothing was reciprocated in return in my gift to you and the initial purchase of the gift. Towards the end of your article you reference paying back the free lunch you have been given, but the absolute premise of free is that nothing is expected in return. By having a feeling of indebtedness shows that you feel your lunch really was not free. Instead of looking to inspire other symantecly simply state that we, overall, have failed to take care of our fellow man closest to us. Those dearest to us are in need and we should be willing to give and love openly and deeply seeking nothing in return.

  • Sarah says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m currently traveling for a year (somewhat inspired by you, Chris – thank you!), and I’m constantly reminded of the free lunch I enjoy as a U.S. citizen. Why was I born in California and not in some remote Andean village in Ecuador? As I contemplate the next step in my life, I feel increasingly compelled to share my lunch with those less fortunate than I am.

  • David says:

    Hi Chris, I very much enjoyed this post. There is a great deal of truth to the idea that we all receive things we didn’t deserve or ask for. There is one point I’d like to make though. For future reference, the concept of “free lunch” came from the idea that saloons and the like would offer a free lunch if you came and bought a drink. Then the saying “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” came because the price of the lunch was factored into the price of the drink. The things we are given and don’t deserve came from somewhere. The $100 you gave out at the WDS2 came from someone and he had to work for that money. And if he inherited that money, then his birth is still not free lunch, because his parents had to work for that money. That money had to come from somewhere. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. I think besides a different definition of free lunch, this post and many of your others help me appreciate the goodness in people and the fortune I receive.

    Please keep writing these posts. I read every one of them.

  • Nick says:

    This is definitely true. Almost no one ever succeeds without an opportunity. Whether it’s who your parents are or what your background is, teachers you’ve had, people you’ve met, or inventions of others like a bicycle, snowboard, or a computer. Without them your life might be totally different.

  • Linda G. says:

    Love the post, Chris… an inspiring reminder.

    Here’s my added two cents: There’s good karma; and then there’s grace. In life we get both — one earned, and the other just shows how the nature of the universe is Love. Be open to receiving it and keep passing it on, which only creates more…

  • Jon says:

    Many people spend all their lives trying to figure out things like how to be happy when all that is really required is just to do it.

  • Aaron Johnson says:

    Fantastic mindset. I’ve been reading Gladwell’s Outliers and he is making a similar point.

    Last year I was kicking around the idea of doing a PH D. I was asking a friend if he ever felt guilty, that he was doing something that only a very small percentage of the world gets the chance to do. His response was, “You owe it to them; you owe it to them to use every opportunity you have been given, then to turn around and make a real difference for others.” I decided against pursuing my doctorate (for myriad other reasons), but that conversation has stuck with me.

  • Angela Petersen says:

    Two days ago, a bus driver pulled up alongside the stop I was waiting at and asked where I was headed. He then proceeded to give me a free ride on an empty bus en route to wherever he drops the bus after his shift had finished. He said he loves to do that whenever he can! What a great example and reminder of how easy it is to give out “free lunches,” right?!

    Just the most recent in the long list of things I’ve been given for which I am exceedingly grateful. 🙂

  • Iris M. Gross says:

    Blance DuBois had it right all along, didn’t she? “I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers.”

  • Leon says:

    I sometimes hand a small amount of cash out the car window to someone standing with a sign .. begging, basically. I found myself judging them as I did.. and there was a slight resistance within me to giving them the cash. I have overcome that resistance by realizing that I cannot possibly judge them. It is not important whether or not the person is relying on begging, or trying to find work, able to work, refusing to work, acting like they are worse off than they really are. Are they going to use the money for booze or dope or what? omg… I was missing the point entirely! If I am going to give, then I must give, and it is best to do so with full compassion, as a brother. That way, we both receive. None of those other things mean anything, and there is no possible way on earth to judge the person even if it mattered. The fact is, the person is asking for help, and I am either going to respond, or I’m not. How the money gets used is no longer my responsibility once it leaves my hand. Otherwise, I haven’t freely given the money. I love to give now, and I have no care for how it gets used. After all, it’s not my money.

  • auGi says:

    Synchronicity: just this morning, my GF and I walked away from a new, $400k home mortgage that I know would’ve become a prison. Instead, we opted to keep renting. And you know what? Our landlord not only said “that makes me very happy,” but agreed to install new windows.

    We saved a fortune, our LL doesn’t have to find a new tenant, and we get to stay in a place that we love with windows that actually open.

    Thanks for helping me remember this simple truth.


  • Michelle says:

    On a more literal note, many children who live in the U.S. rely on their free school lunch programs, which often feed them free lunch AND free breakfast. Most communities have donation-based programs to help keep these children fed during the summer break. Supporting these programs (or your local food banks) is one good way to give a free lunch to someone. I am a successful 40+ year old now, but back in the 1970s and 1980s these sorts of programs fed me so many times during my childhood. What you do really does make a difference.

  • Justin Jenkins says:

    Free lunches. Like many of these commenters have admitted, I’ve received many. It’s always good to receive a reminder that these things warrant a return on the universe’s investment.

  • Ralph@Retirement Lifestyle says:

    The trouble with those free lunches is that it is hard to recognize how valuable they are. We take them for granted and then complain about the lunch that we can only have if we are willing to pay the price. As you remind me, I have the power to share my lunch or even create one and give it away. And the trouble with that is that if you give it away, many people will consider it worthless.

  • Briana Borten says:

    Free lunch it is! This is such a perfect post for me to read right now. Yesterday I went on a hike in the beautiful Rocky Mountains and realized that I feel the most alive when I am giving my gifts away! So many people have helped me in my life and I can’t wait to help others! Whoo-hoo!

  • Autumn says:

    Thanks for the reminder that paying it forward is the only way to go.

    It’s so easy to forget how blessed I truly am, and clutch what I have to myself like it’s a lifeline.

    I can give far more than I do, out of my comparative abundance. And if we don’t have much material wealth to share, we can give time, a smile, encouragement.

  • Wesplainr Resstnind says:

    I gave this homeless guy a free lunch today and then gave him my weeks wage. I’m on minimum wage but I don’t really need it as much as some people.

    When he asked how they could pay me back I told him that he didn’t need to and that they should help others as I helped them.

    It’s the sixth time I’ve done it this year and everyone feels so happy it makes me feel happy, almost as if my reward for working was to feel happy. Which is what it should be.

  • Mike Ambassador Bruny says:

    Count me in for the Free Lunch Movement! One cool thing is that it may just be a snack or a 3 course meal. They all serve a purpose and have their place. Thanks for that one Chris.

  • Masha Tkacheva says:

    Hi Chris,
    I’ve come upon this post in my mails and read it again. This is really amazing, and you put it in such a beautiful way to have a right perspective! This feels so good when I have a chance to help someone – even if it’s something small like giving a lift (I am blessed to have a car while others don’t!). And I always amazed myself when encounter a gesture of kindness from others!
    Thank you for sharing your vision with the world – one of your ways to distribute a “free lunch” 🙂

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