11 December 2010

first week of volunteering at food lifeline: a smashing success

It’s been a rockin’ first week volunteering at Food Lifeline. I love the people I’m working with and the rotating cast of kind-hearted volunteers and court mandated community service characters that roll through the Shoreline warehouse.  I started the week inspecting and repacking grocery rescue produce.  In real people speak, that’s nearly expired donations from several local grocery retailers, including Fred Meyer, Whole Foods and Amazon.com.  Foodstuffs have ranged from chanterelle mushrooms and vegetable and dip combo platters to very ripe avocados and heirloom tomatoes.  Potatoes, apples, bagged lettuces and pre-cut fruit reign supreme, with the latter in past expiration abundance.  It’s humbling to play a part in feeding so many needy Western Washington families and inspiring to see the volume of food that is processed at Food Lifeline with such meticulous care.

Parker Staffing Services and Tiffany of Carbzilla joined the food-packing festivities on Tuesday; Tiffany even returned again on Thursday.  Later in the week, I was “promoted” to processing dairy and have even been entrusted to train a handful of new volunteers.  Physically, it’s been an exhausting week, moving and packing boxes ranging from 25-40 lbs., hauling, weighing and disposing of heavy compost bins, and working on my feet for several consecutive hours in a fast paced warehouse setting, but I absolutely love it. 

In other news, my beloved 1992 Nissan Maxima went to car heaven last weekend after one final road trip to Vancouver, B.C., so I was forced to learn how to navigate King County Metro.  Riding the bus is no big deal for most urbanites, but I am not well-versed in Seattle’s public transportation system and the prospect of taking the bus (including a - gasp! - transfer) instilled panic that I’ve never experienced in all my third world ground transportation travels. Go figure.  So as a freelancer who’s worked from home for the past 12 years, never had structure or a schedule to abide by and has limited public transportation experience, I am proud of myself for getting myself to Food Lifeline every day this week via bus and on time. Maybe I wore repeat outfits this week and showed up with wet hair, but volunteering really isn’t about looking pretty. It’s about productivity and all of the volunteers at Food Lifeline kick ass.  I am so happy that for December, I get to play some small part in Food Lifeline’s annual goal of delivering 24 million meals to hungry families in Western Washington. 


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear that your hometown volunteering experience has been a success so far. I will add this organization to our Service Driven list and make sure to check it out when we drive through Seattle next year. Not sure what time of year that will be yet.... maybe March?

Charyn Pfeuffer said...

Let me know and I can connect you with the volunteer coordinator at Food Lifeline. Another Seattle hunger relief volunteer opportunity I really like is Marra Farm Giving Garden (http://www.solid-ground.org/programs/nutrition/marra/pages/default.aspx), but weather in March may be icky and it's an outdoor project. Anyway, holler when it gets closer to your landing date and I'll help out anyway I can!

Valentina Vitols said...

So happy to hear everything is going so well for you and this project Charyn! I'm also delighted to see that Tiff gave you a hand. Great people always end up meeting at some point :-)

Good luck with the rest of this project and have the most wonderful holidays, my dear friend!

Charyn Pfeuffer said...

Valentina, Oh my, Tiffany is such a lovely woman. I don't know how our paths have not crossed before, but I am so grateful they have now. Of course, we were both singing your praises...Here's wishing you safe travels home, an abundance of sun and lots of adventures with your sweetie. I am so excited to hear about everything and hope the time at home treats you kindly. Holler if you need anything in Seattle while you are away. I'll be here through the end of the month! xo