My schedule finally developed an opening, so off to the Food Bank I went to experience a morning of packing food boxes. And yes, it was that easy! When I arrived, Jamie Treadaway had us sign in and then we went to the packing floor.
I was totally impressed with the organization and the cheerful attitude of the staff and team leaders. I was assigned to work with group of teenagers from a Catholic group in Texas. Let me tell you, they came to work! There was no standing around, but at the same time, we all settled into a nice rhythm of work. The pallets of food quickly turned into boxes of mixed food to be distributed to those in need. Our team leaders sang the praises of the group for the hard work and diligence of getting the job done in great fashion.
The experience was outstanding and it gave me a feeling of real accomplishment knowing that each can or package of food we touched was going to make some family’s living situation better. What a great service to the 500,000 people that face hunger in Oklahoma EACH day! Thanks to the staff for a wonderful morning at the Food Bank! I’ll be back soon and I’m bringing friends with me this time!
You’d think that, because I spend about 60 hours a week at the Food Bank already, that I wouldn’t want to spend my “off time” anywhere near the place, right? As it so happened, I scheduled our entire department to spend a few hours in the Volunteer Center helping assemble emergency family boxes recently without realizing the date was going to fall right in the middle of my vacation week.
Granted, I could have played the vacation card, but every time I thought about it, I kept hearing this voice in my head say, “hunger doesn’t take a vacation.” And, so I did what thousands of others do every year – I donated some of my time to volunteer at the Food Bank.
I have to tell you, it was probably one of the most rewarding days I’ve had in a while. Seriously. Not only did I get to do some physical labor for a change (rather than working at my computer all day), I also met some of the most wonderful people! There was a hard working group from Chapel Hill Methodist Church who shared their secret for staying young: keep busy by volunteering! There were youth groups, senior groups, families and individuals who read about the need for volunteers in the newspaper and just showed up to help.
There were volunteers as young as 8 and as old as 80. Some couldn’t lift, but they could work an assembly line; some couldn’t stand, but they could put labels on boxes; some couldn’t sit still, but they could run around and pick up cardboard boxes and tear them down for recycling! In short, there was something for everyone and everyone served a purpose. It was like a well-oiled machine.
Joe, Liz, Jackie, Jamie, Dan and all the rest of the crew that run the Volunteer Center every day deserve a standing O. Or at least, a standing “Oh My!” It’s amazing the amount of work that goes into preparing, coordinating, training and overseeing volunteers from all walks of life, all ages and all skill levels. Somehow, they seem to pull it off and, in the end, we all went home tired, but feeling like we had truly made a difference in someone’s life. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As for me – I may make this part of my vacation every year.