I have always chosen to do some sort of volunteer work.
When I was younger I was a reading tutor for elementary age children. When my daughter was in public school, I held leadership positions at each level of schooling. When my daughter graduated, I began shopping for a new volunteer oppurtunity.
I had been helping out at a soup kitchen when COVID hit, and that got shot down. Truth be told, I don’t know how long I would have continued that: I love to cook, but cooking for masses was making me hate chopping vegetables.
But COVID. No volunteering, Etc.
As the world began to reopen, I once again began to shop for volunteer opportunities. After a bit of research, I stumbled upon God’s Love We Deliver. Their mission is simple: provide healthy meals for those who are ill or recovering from illness/surgery. The meals are prepared, packaged and delivered to those in need. I like what they do. They help people. I wanted to be part of that.
I signed up to do meal kit assembly. Meal Kit Assembly is when we look at a menu, figure out what the client needs, and we package the premade food into bags so that they can be delivered. (This organization is organized: they break things down so well, and have volunteers at every part of this production)
I enjoy doing this.
Sometimes it stresses me out. I have actually gone home and worried that I packaged someone’s meal wrong. Did I give a no pork person a pork? Did I forget to include bread? Did I pack the bags in the wrong order, thus making it harder for the delivery guys? Did I forget a breakfast entrée or companion meal?
When I told other people this at volunteering, they looked at me like I was crazy. “No” they said. “I never worry that I did something wrong. This is SO EASY”.
FYI- this is why you never share how you actually feel/what you think with anyone because they will totally judge you and try to box you away as “lesser” than them. Everyone needs to feel superior, even at a job we don’t get paid for or promoted- where technically we are all in it together.
The beauty of this volunteer opportunity is that you are not locked into doing certain hours or days: You choose how much you do or don’t want to do with no reprisal. My being somewhat regimented, I always volunteer same shift every week: same day. Same time. Same job. Sort of like watching Batman in the sixties…
A few weeks after I began volunteering, I was talking to an omnivolunteer(there are people who volunteer about 20 hours a week, randomly choosing days and departments) This person told me that they had begun auditing the meal packers on other days of the week: asking the volunteers to mark down what table they worked at and which step of the packing process they were involved in. Clients weren’t getting the right things!!
I of course began to flop sweat. My worst nightmare was coming true. I had been packing meals wrong! Someone didn’t get their peaches in syrup! OMG- some poor ill person got two chickens instead of a veggie and a beef!!!
I needed to sit down and have a glass of water! I was getting the vapers! Oh no! Where are the smelling salts!
Ok. I did none of those things. But I really did feel just a teensy bit sick.
So I asked one of the staff members who actually gets paid and actually knows what they are doing if we should be marking down the who what where of our table.
“No. MTWTFday has been perfect for the past month. There are no complaints at all about the food packed on MTWTFday. This packing day is solid.”
Hear the angels singing?
The day I pack hasn’t had complaints. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect day. It might just mean that the clients who get the food we pack on MTWTFday are a mellow sort. But however you look at it- our day has been consistently average.
Here are my takeaways:
- Don’t mock someone if they tell you their fears. That’s just not nice. It’s also discrimination and bullying.
- Don’t think anything is EASY. Nothing is easy. Everything takes thought and time and requires attention.
- Don’t think you’re better than anyone else. There should be no hierarchy. We might know more than others about certain things, but really, we are all equal.
- Don’t assume you haven’t made mistakes. We are all capable of mistakes. Even professional baseball players make errors. Think Bill Buckner. Though I’m a Met fan, so that all worked out for me, but still, mistakes.
- Try your best at every single thing you do. If you are going to do something, do it right.