Week 17: Volunteering at a Food Bank
I have volunteered many places but never at a food bank or soup kitchen. This was a first.
Look, I still have plenty of life left in me and plenty to give, but I need to think how I want to spend my days in ‘retirement.’ What will be my cause? I really thought it to be a dog shelter, but I’m allergic to most dogs so that is out. Then I thought I’d hug babies at the hospital, but that would involve giving them back and I wouldn’t want to be that lady who steals babies. It might also involve getting attached to kids that don’t make it. That is out (although my friends and I are doing something for Sick Kids Hospital in the summer… stay tuned). I’ve tried canvasing lots of times for Heart & Stroke and the Humane Society. That is out because too many people don’t like me when I canvas and I like to be liked. I considered driving cancer patients to treatments but then I thought about the vomit factor. Out. All these causes are worthwhile, but it couldn’t do them every week. Then I met the Food Bank <3
I spent the morning with nine of my besties. Aren’t they great?! We helped 117 families and felt like ‘Good Humans’ about the whole experience. Every one of us is planning to go back. We packed boxes and sorted through donations (some people donate the strangest things to the Food Bank–hair dye, toys, expired food). Fun Fact: The Food Bank we were at accepts expired non-perishables as long as it was not over two years and it couldn’t be baby food or meal replacement items (Boost). Those went in the round bin. In case you were wondering what to do with those smoked oysters you bought for a recipe and forgot to use before you notice the stale date, donate them.
I left feeling a deep sense of wellbeing and I met some amazing volunteers who helped us get the hang of the place and made me laugh. Thanks, Bill especially (he didn’t want to be filmed so I suspect he is in the witness protection program or, less likely, shy). The Daily Bread Food Bank was a workout, it smelled delicious (they were preparing food in the kitchen), and played all 80s anthems. I could get used to that in my retirement.
While we were there, I was interviewed by Global TV Toronto. They asked me about my donation and then filmed us working. My interview was not aired (and I’m glad it wasn’t because the news story ended up being about what not to donate–grocery store gift cards–which is exactly what I did donate. I thought the Food Bank looked kind-of gift-horse-in-the-mouth in the piece and I’m sure they are happy to get anything if they are OK with hair dye). I say, donate what you can.
Please consider volunteering, if you can, at a food bank near you or send a donation. Most of the area food banks have online donations or big bins at the grocery stores. As long as you don’t send them grocery store gift cards, they will be happy… ugh.
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