Tis the Season for Volunteering

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Gotta start out by saying I love my Sweetie. I love him even when he makes me mad (which isn't very often) and I love him especially when he plans wonderful things for our family to do (which is quite often). It's usually planning fun trips, but a couple weeks ago, he planned a family outing to volunteer at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina on a Thursday evening. Volunteering is something I've been meaning and wanting to do and so I was really looking forward to doing this with my family.

Our job was to be "greeters" and to help people who were coming in to drop off donated food during their extended hours. We quickly learned what we were supposed to do as a donation came at the same time we did and then within minutes, we were on our own. Almost immediately, a couple young ladies dropped off a car load of food they collected from a food drive they organized. The hubby, the girls and I quickly moved their many plastic grocery bags of food from the loading docks to the big giant scale that was located in the warehouse where they store all the donated food. We were all excited to get busy. The load weighed in at a whopping 144 lbs of food! After writing up a receipt for the young ladies, we proceeded to move the food from the scales to the giant cardboard boxes sorted by "Boxes" and "Cans".

We did all that within 10 minutes and eagerly awaited more donations... and waited... and waited.

Well, let's just say that the rest of the 1 hour and 45 mins were spent keeping ourselves creatively occupied in that food warehouse. :) Unfortunately, we just happened to come at a slow time and much to our dismay (or maybe it was just plain luck) we had just missed a donation dropped off by about 30 high school students totaling 4000 lbs!!! WOW!

We had fun with the girls despite the lack of action. We actually created our own, starting out with heel-to-toe racing against Daddy. Big Sis attempted plastic bag (collected from the donations drop offs) jump roping next, which proved to be a bit too difficult, so she and Little Sis decided to create wearable plastic bag fashions instead. Then they moved onto plastic bag limbo which turned to plastic bag high-jump once the limbo "stick" got too low. Never knew you could do so much w/ plastic bags!

Despite the lack of donations and things to do, I still feel like we helped out since we were left on our own within minutes and I feel like the girls got a taste of what it meant to volunteer your time to help others. We spoke w/ one of the directors for a bit and learned about how the food gets collected and distributed throughout the 35 counties across North Carolina. It's seriously an amazing community effort that comes together to help fight hunger across these counties and these guys try to make use of every resource available, as efficiently as possible. I was in awe.

The next evening, Friday night, Derek, one of the dads in Daddy and Big Sis' Y-Guides tribe, arranged for the "Whirlybirds" to ring the Salvation Army bell at the food court entrance of a local mall. Daddy and Big Sis' turn was the second of 5 forty-minute slots in the tribe. This was open to all family members so Little Sis and I got to participate, too. Yippee! Another thing I've really wanted to do! We had fun ringing bells and chattin' it up w/ fellow tribe-sters as well as those donating and passers-by. But we really started rakin' in the donations when the girls started belting out the those Christmas tunes, thanks to the brilliant idea of Chris, one of the other fathers. The girls (ok and myself, too) had so much fun ringing and singing, singing and ringing that we ended up hanging out and helping out with each of the other time slots, too. So, bascially, we ended up ringing that bell from a span of 4:30 pm until around 7:45 pm, minus a dinner break. WHEW! Luckily it was a beautiful night and fun was had by all.

As if that weren't enough, the following day, Saturday, was yet another volunteering event that the "Chief" arranged for his tribe, this time members only, at the Brown Bag Ministries of Apex where the girls and dads got to pack lunches and then go downtown to Moore Square in downtown Raleigh, NC to actually pass them out to the many homeless people there. This was what Big Sis found to be the most rewarding volunteering gig. It didn't come without a lot of questions, but those questions mean that she's thinking about the world around her and how there are people less fortunate than her and what she can do to help.

I so loved volunteering as a family that I really hope to try to make it a more regular occurrence, because what can be better than enjoying family time together while helping others!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)


Anonymous said...

8 of my students receive a backpack full of food for the weekends (or many of them would not eat) and a large portion receive gifts for the holidays from our staff at school and the Salvation Army. What a great thing the girls got to help with. :) I think the delivering and interacting with those receiving the help is always the biggest impact. :) Sooooo proud of my beautiful nieces and their caring parents!

happyvballgirl said...

Wow, it's amazing to hear how these organizations impact lives of so many, especially of those that are close to you. Thanks for your comment, Sis! Love ya!! :)