So last night was… not what I expected.
To be honest, I’m not sure what I expected when I had the idea in my head, “oh, Meagan and I will just go to the food bank and pick up a food hamper.’ Wow, an abstract idea is so much different than reality.
Here is what I saw last night:
- Waaaay more people than I anticipated – both clients and volunteers.
- So many children; children my son’s age
- Entire families with the little kids smiling to be on a family outing while their parents had strained expressions on their faces
- A variety of volunteers – the great majority were friendly, kind and greeted me with a warm smile, yet a couple were short and impatient with me when I fumbled in the process (ie. when I got mixed up where the hamper line started)
- Pregnant women rubbing their enlarged bellies while waiting patiently in line
- A mother and her 13 year old (or so) son volunteering together to add fresh foods to the hampers
- A well-planned, smoothly run system (line up, register, hamper is loaded for the client into carts, all done)
Here is what I heard last night:
- A mixture of casual, light conversation and hushed, somber conversation
- Shopping carts clanking and crates of food bumping along the rolling conveyer belt
- Phones ringing
- Kids laughing, kids crying, kids fussing
- Volunteers asking families if they would like a little snack (Halloween candy, fruit leather, etc) while they wait
Here is what I thought last night:
- I’m soooo uncomfortable right now
- I’m an impostor… can anyone tell?
- Is it rude/insensitive/demeaning to be pretending to be a client in need of a hamper?
- Will I see anyone I know?
- Kyla, sheesh… get over yourself already!
- My kid is snuggled up with his dad reading bedtime stories right now; these kids are spending their evening waiting in line to get some food; what an unfair world we live in… (this was the point where I started to get teary and then swiftly held those tears in)
Here is what I felt last night:
- A surprisingly overall lighthearted energy to the room
- Uncomfortable, embarrassed, uncertain, guilty
- Distanced – as though I was watching myself from a movie (I kept thinking to myself, “am I really doing this right now?“)
- Heartwarmed by the amount and compassion of the volunteers – especially those in the hamper assembly line
- A desire to be a volunteer at the food bank one day… maybe with my son??