Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeding America

Not sure where this was from, but people are helping people with food shelf donations all across the country and the world.

While Winter rages on here in the Northland, I try to keep myself occupied with some sort of activity. In the past, this has been a very challenging endeavor as the weather limits many things, especially anything that has to do with being outside or doing anything outside. Years ago, I was able to endure the cold and snow better than I am equipped to deal with it now. Seems like going out in Winter was the same as going out in the Summer. I fished, I walked around the woods, I motorcycled or snowmobiled depending on the season and I skated on the frozen lake or swam in it, once again depending on the condition of the water.

In these times, some days I can’t get enough clothes on to keep me warm. It is cold today, 14 degrees Fahrenheit, (Brits, do the calculation to Celsius yourselves this time), but the wind is biting. The NOAA says we are to expect at least the next five days with night time lows in the below zero range and day time highs not to exceed 14 degrees. That means today is the warmest day expected this week.

There’s a good supply of food in the house and we paid the heat bill, so we should be able to stay warm. I shouldn’t have any complaints. After all, what am I expecting? Food and shelter along with complete and total happiness? Okay, so I’m a little bored with staying inside. I read some, I write. I don’t like to watch TV during the day and aside from watching the Vikings get beat, which, by the way, made me very happy, I haven’t watched any TV lately, even in the evenings.

Over the years, I have had this same problem. What to do with myself. I haven’t had to work at a regular paying job. I am on a fixed income with Social Security and have always looked for something to do. Summer never posed a problem because I could get outside. But sitting inside every day, day after day, all Winter long is a totally different story.

In my efforts to find something to occupy my time, it has been suggested that I volunteer somewhere.

That is a great idea, but I have struggled and not been able to even walk into the door or call a place and ask about being a volunteer, let alone actually do something, especially if it required a schedule or interaction with a situation I am not comfortable with. That would be most situations. That’s one of the hallmarks of PTSD, an anxiety disorder. I have it and I struggle and that is that.

This year, after many years of realizing I needed some help to return myself back to a normal way of thinking and living, I am able to pick up the phone and even walk into a situation and try to be of service to my community. I have started working the counter at the food shelf as a volunteer. This connection came through the weekly apple deliveries I have been making with my friend, Nick. If you remember, I’ve been picking up and delivering fresh apples from the Maple Leaf Orchard in the rural area for the food shelf. I’ve been doing this for the past few months.

Not every place in the world has the kind of bounty as seen in this grocery store shot.

So, these days, with Winter keeping me home and my mind filled with the events of living which have been quite troubling of late, I found myself going to the food shelf and spending a few hours a week.

Since I am computer literate, (they think I might have an inclination to know what I’m doing), I am at the front counter. I check people in and enter information to the computer file. It has been a good experience so far and I will continue to work, adding myself to the schedule as I can. The shifts are short, just a couple of hours. There is a lot to learn, but so far, it is coming quickly.

I tell you this not to brag, as it is with great humility I finally serve my community in some capacity. It is good therapy for me as well. It helps to keep my mind occupied and not dwelling on the situation with my mother who is receiving hospice care these days. The combination of family stress and the Winter weather keeping things moving along rather slowly can be devastating to the psyche. I’m glad I can stay busy and be of help in the process.

Sitting at the table eating a meal, taken for granted here in America for some, as some folks struggle to put a decent daily meal on the table.

The food program itself is quite interesting. I’ll write about the little idiosyncrasies as I get more experience. But there are things that I never realized about food distribution. It truly is a learning experience. And these days, there is no shortage of people coming and getting a helping hand. Make those donations regularly of food items, cash or both to your local food shelf. From what I’ve seen so far, it is totally donations and volunteers. There is no government money or food involved in feeding those in need, least not around here. Much is from Second Harvest, you may have heard of this organization. They go by the name of Feeding America. And This Article about a Wisconsin Company is interesting as well.

My next shift is Monday evening. Until then, I’ll stay busy fetching apples and keeping the house neat and tidy. I'll be making the almost weekly trip to Chicago to support my sister and see my Mom. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate as I travel back and forth.

The little kids also need me around. They’ve been teasing me lately about getting old. I have to be diligent in my attempt not to become crotchety, as they call it. They tell me that no one wants to deal with a crotchety clerk at the food shelf, or anywhere for that matter. So, each morning, I let them tell me if I am acting or looking crotchety and hope I pass the test.

Peace to all.


Mel said...

I'm glad for you. And I'm glad for them! They've got an awesome volunteer.

And you've got the help of the short persons to keep that attitude in check. *laughing* I hope I can be AS willing to hear the bug when she tells me I'm crotchety. ;-)
If she dares...LOL..which she WILL!

*sending continued prayers for you and yours*

I, Like The View said...

ah! my children are always telling me I'm old and crochety. . .

. . .just as I used to think my parents were (but they were, if you know what I mean)

I also have some of the issues you write about, and struggle with them

so, huge congrats to you for what you've achieved

crochety or not, you're spending your time constructively!