Friday, February 7, 2014

Volunteering

I’m alone out here in the cottage since Jim is still living in MA I don’t have to plan my schedule around anyone else. That means I have a lot of time to define selfishly. This has led to some prioritizing. I make time for a workout at least 4 days a week, I cook dinner as often as possible, and I knit whenever I want. All of this is my way of enhancing my life. Luckily there is time left over and I was encouraged to enhance other people’s lives as well. My company has a volunteer group where I can easily find volunteer activitites where I can spend some time. I've worked at a handful of events, and really do enjoy the time I spend volunteering.

One of the events I attended through my company was a food sort, basically sorting the food donated to the food bank. I actually did this twice and the second time I went, the volunteer wrangler (aka the actual employee) asked if I was regularly available to volunteer. I waffled a bit on whether I wanted to make the commitment, but decided that it was a great chance to really feel like I make a difference. So I have now been volunteering for about 3 months. During the holidays the sorting is every week, but after the first of the year the evening sorts are only twice a month. It’s been three months and I’m still enjoying the regularly scheduled “doing good” time.

Some things that I have learned (or re-affirmed)at the food bank
- Food banks are far-reaching.
      o A lot of the food goes to lunch programs in schools and food programs for seniors, soup kitchens, etc

- Food banks have great buying power.
       o I know that it doesn't seem like donating money is the best move, but honestly they can buy food in gigantic quantities for cheaper than you or I can. That doesn't mean you shouldn't donate food, but money is just as good

- Food banks really do RELY on volunteers.
 - Many companies don’t print best by/expiration dates on the cans
       o usually when they come in larger packages and that makes the life of a food bank volunteer VERY HARD.
       o This especially annoys me if they still print lot numbers and such on it

- Food is good well past its expiration

- I prefer volunteer work that takes advantage of my physicality

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