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.

However…

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.

Yay average.

Here are my takeaways:

  1. Don’t mock someone if they tell you their fears. That’s just not nice. It’s also discrimination and bullying.
  2. Don’t think anything is EASY. Nothing is easy. Everything takes thought and time and requires attention.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Try your best at every single thing you do. If you are going to do something, do it right.

50 thoughts on “Pack the Meals

  1. I get the worry. When I was delivering food boxes to families over the summer I always worried about putting the wrong box on the wrong porch. Now I just deliver backpacks of food to the schools so it’s hard to mess up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pam has a great point.

      And in addition to the excellent take-aways you’ve suggested LA, I think our brains worry when we start something new until we’ve grooved our process. Which reminds me, I’m doing a new volunteer thing today and I’m a little nervous. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dude. As soon as you described what you did, I thought “well how does they know someone’s not making a mistake?” So, yeah. I think that’s natural, well maybe natural for the anxiety-ridden, which I know I am.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Anyone who thinks doing repetitive tasks for hours on end is easy, doesn’t understand how easy it is for mistakes to happen when you’re distracted or not focused on getting it right. How do they think cars have faults when they’re brand new? Someone on the line thought it was easy and didn’t concentrate is one of the causes for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Awesome opportunity you have to give of your time. It’s unfortunate that sometimes in our sharing of personal fears or concerns, the one who doesn’t experience the same makes you feel bad. Yet, they have their own fears/concerns that maybe you don’t share. Why can’t we be more accepting and compassionate? Sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t it nice to be back out helping again? I understand you questioning if you did a simple task correctly or not. That’s what I do, too. I was looking for something to do volunteerwise in my community and today I officially took over as newsletter editor and had my first meeting. There are two other women who have volunteered for my committee. I didn’t know I’d have a committee. One moved from So Cal the same month as me and we realized because moving during COVID we don’t know many people and wanted to get involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can see why you’re feeling this way. For a similar reason, I used to get quite stressed out while packing meals at Feed My Starving Children for a similar reason. You don’t want to make the justification of “oh, it’s good enough that I’m helping” because it sounds entitled. But if we feel this way, it means we have a good intention and are putting good out there. You’ve discovered the path to happiness; being of service to others. Good for you.

    Bernie’s Book Bank in Chicago is a volunteer opportunity that I really enjoy. It’s a wonderful mission, and I know how much you enjoy books and reading, they might have something similar in NYC.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You are right on with all of your points. You should be somebody’s mother–LOL. I’m glad you got some affirmation that you were doing the good job you are intending to do and that you are not going to let anyone make you feel “less than” because you want to do your best for other people.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay on volunteering, such an important and rewarding thing to do! And double Yay on being able to breathe now knowing that your day isn’t the one where meals are getting messed up.
    Great points you made. No, we should never belittle someone!
    Also just because something may qppear easy doesn’t mean it is!
    I have been told before that my job is easy. I am a caregiver in a private home for a 95 year old lady. It has its moments that are easy but No, would not describe it as an easy job!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I actually disagree with your #3. We’re not all equal.

    That sounds bad just typed out, but I think it’s a poor, blanket statement to say “we’re all equal.” We are all human and all need to treat each other as having the same worth. There is, however, someone in charge. There are levels of management and different tasks assigned based on performance.

    Yes, we need to do our best work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I stand corrected because I usually go out of my way to say we aren’t all equal. I was getting at we should all be treated equally…and in my hurry to prove a point…😆….I misworded

      Liked by 1 person

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