I don’t know what really made me decide to volunteer, except the fact that a co-worker told me she was going. Diane was pretty upbeat about the whole thing. Actually she is just a overall upbeat person. The moment seemed right,without a second thought I signed up to volunteer for Operation Gratitude. The location is close to my home, so in my usual fashion I was there at the appointed time, meaning I was one of the first volunteers to arrive. I spoke with a couple of Supervisors who are old hands at this, and they gave me the tour (explaining how simple it is and how the manual assembly line works) and left me to look around.
As soon as enough volunteers arrive the whole assembly goes into action, along with a lot of rocking loud music from the 60’s and 70’s to keep everyone moving and motivated. I was looking around for what position I should take in the assembly and found an empty spot on the side where people are standing and placing goodies into the boxes.
The other side of the line are people walking the boxes as they are filled. And in the middle are people organizing the donations into small boxes for those of us filling the boxes.
I chuckled a bit at the irony of what I get to put in the boxes, as it is the sort of thinking I have been concentrating on lately.
At first I am concentrating on the job at hand, but eventually there is an even pace going with the process, and I end up having great conversations with the people on both sides of me. On one side is a mother with her daughter who is doing community service. they have also volunteered at a local food bank, but this is their first time with Operation Gratitude. The gentleman on the other side is a year older than me and a marathoner. Officially retired from the treasury, he and his wife keep busy training and doing marathons and volunteering. The farthest marathon they had accomplished was in Barcelona Spain. What experiences, and what nice people I met. I look around and feel a sense of community here.
We ended up working about 3 1/2 hours and I think the goal was 4,000 boxes. So the million mark they passed this last December really reverberates. On the way out let’s not forget…
I will add a personal addendum here. I was filled with more energy and positive thought as I left than when I arrived. I have the feeling I will do this again.
As I approached my car in the dirt field serving as temporary parking lot, I looked down and found this
Anyone who knows me well, knows I collect these odd pieces of abstracted wire.
I found my gratitude.