Maggie Jenkins’ tasteful lunch bags

Everyday, junior Maggie Jenkins brings a lunch bag from home with a box of filling comfort food on the inside and intricately drawn cartoons on the outside, both made with love by her father. The interaction has become somewhat of a tradition between the two of them.

Mike Jenkins, Maggie’s father, has been drawing the cartoons on her lunch bags for a long time, to the point that this daily routine feels natural to both of them. “He started drawing the lunch bags when I was in 7th grade,” Maggie said. “At the time, I thought it was just a temporary thing, but I still loved them just as much as I do now.”

Those who have seen these lunch bags know that the cartoons covering the brown paper are more than just doodles. Mr. Jenkins is a professional cartoonist, and takes his daughter’s lunch bags just as seriously as he would a paid job. He spends four hours on each lunch bag cartoon and has produced over 600 of these artworks so far. “My dad used to work as an editorial cartoonist,” Maggie said. “He’s someone who enjoys working, and having that daily deadline like he did with the newspaper made him feel good.”

Maggie is very grateful for the time and effort that she knows her father spends on these lunch bags despite the fact that he does not have to. Although they started off as just something fun, the lunch bags have really come to emphasize the strong connection she has with her father. “These lunch bags have definitely brought me closer to my dad,” Maggie said. “They make me so grateful to have such a wonderful father that does this for me.”

Mr. Jenkins also acknowledges the deeper meaning of the lunch bags. To him, they represent that his child is growing up and he will not always have the opportunity to do things like this for her. “When they are younger, they cling to you,” Mr. Jenkins said. “You are the middle of their world. As they get older, that changes. It is a change you barely notice happening, but it does. I don’t think I’ll be making her lunches in college.”

On the other hand, he also sees the light-hearted side of the finished products that he hands to his daughter every morning. “[One idea behind the lunch bags] is to inspire Maggie’s imagination,” Mr. Jenkins said. “She might end up thinking that her lunch is better than it really is.”

Likewise, Maggie is not looking to or thinking about the time when her father won’t be making these artistic cartoons for her just yet. Instead, she is living in the present, enjoying the new designs that he comes up with for her each day. “My view on these drawings hasn’t really changed over time,” Maggie said. “They’ve always been very important to me, as they still are now. My favorite thing about them is just how unique they are. It always makes me feel so special knowing that my lunch bags are one of a kind.”