Sunday, February 03, 2013

Food bank (new class project)

Jane and I, and a group from our church, worked at the local food bank yesterday. It's the main distributor for all the other food banks in the area and on Saturday's they have a free food giveaway. I think they give away something like 12 million pounds of food a year. On this day we distributed 48,000 lbs. of food to 490 families representing 2,000 people. This was my second time distributing food on a Saturday morning. The first time was last September. We had nine people from our church yesterday (Jane and myself, Matt & Shelley, Greg & Joie, Joan, Robin, and Linda). We were supposed to have between 10 and 12, but I think there was plenty of help. We handed out food from 9~11:30 am to a constant stream of people. I mostly handed out bottles/cases of vitamin water; Jane handed out triscuits. My back is a little sore today and my hands somewhat scraped (from opening the cases) but it was a good day.

This is a new project for our Sunday School class (though it's not limited to people just in the class). We used to serve meals to the local women's shelter, and had kind of developed a relationship with them. But when they moved into a new facility and somehow gained a bunch more financial support, they didn't really need us to help out anymore. So after several years of doing that we decided to do something else. Joan is employed by the food bank now, so we had her set us up to volunteer there. We will likely do it once every other month.

It seems I have been involved in a lot of discussions lately about how sometimes our efforts to help the poor actually do more harm than good; as well as a number of conversations with people trying to blame the poor for most of the evils of society (I am prepping a post on why we can't just tell people to "get a job" and think that will fix everything). I'm sure there were some "undeserving" people who stood out in the cold and snow yesterday and waited for a chance to get some free food. I'm guessing there were some for whom this was the only good food they got. It's a pretty complex issue and there are no simple solutions. Abuse is going to happen no matter what you do. I am trying to do what I think is best, and I appreciate that we have a good group of people in our church who feel the same way.

Anyway, I am pretty spent this morning. It was a busy day yesterday involving way more physical activity than usual. I was shoveling snow at 7:30 am, worked at the food bank, shoveled snow again when I got home, went to the office and worked, went to the Feipel's and babysat while Carrie went to Redimed, took Anna to Wendy's for supper and to Menards, then finally came home and vegged for a bit until bed at 11. I'm a bit weary but not feeling too bad. Now I need a shower and it's time to go to work.