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Thread: Values puzzle at foodbank

  1. #21
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Today was a hard day to be a starfish thrower at the food bank.

    a woman brought her young neighbor and the neighbor's little boy in to sign up. Then she took me aside to tell me the neighbor has a mental illness, so her behavior might be off the next time she comes in. She also felt a need to tell me she didn't know how long the neighbor would be coming because she had "a man" living with her who is "verbally abusive to both of them. I can hear him all the time from my house." (Is she hoping the girl will run? Get money from the man and not need food? Expecting her to be killed?)

    the boy was the age of my heart grandson. He was very shy and uncertain at first, but he let me find him a new shirt from the rack and give him a bear. (the mom Said "thank you. He doesn't really have any toys."). I listened to her tell me all the reasons he misses school all the time, and I told him "I bet your teacher misses you. I'm a teacher, and I would miss you." I packed them Cheerios, pretzels, crackers, cookies, fruit salad and applesauce and threw in a bag of fruit gummies from my station, found the first bear a friend, and thanked him for coming to visit. And that was all I could do.

    he looked happy when he left, but I was wishing I could have given him a new pair of sneakers (he needed them) and a book at least. And preferably a safe, quiet, predictable place to sleep and eat and play and read and learn and grow.

    when my dd and her best friend first went to help at this food bank, the guy who runs it asked "so, are you just here for your graduation hours?" (required community service hours) and dd said "maybe next year, I'm not old enough to fill them in yet." And her friend said "I'm here because when I was a little kid, you fed me." He went out of state a couple years later and got a college degree. So, Cheerios and a bear aren't much, but maybe they're something?
    Sure temporary relief items such as Cheerios and stuffed toy are good if you can't provide a mentally stable mother and a predictable home life. Especially if I t is true that he had no,toys at all.

    We had some drama at the pet rescue food bank here having to do with the guy who doles out the food being pissy ("acting like a girl" according o my friend ) and making up rules that don't exist. And so she called his boss. Now everything is smooth and he is sweet as pie.

  2. #22
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    Yesterday I stopped at goodwill looking for a new blender for school (I burn out a $5 blender every year or two)

    they had a grocery cart of children's books 4/$1. I bought 56 in good to excellent condition with good stories and excellent illustrations. And a huge box of wooden blocks for $8 that I'm going to split up into child sized sets in 10# cloth rice bags with handles. When the woman behind me in line heard me telling the cashier why I was excited about the books, she handed the cashier her senior discount card (I'm 2 years too young) and the cashier used it.

  3. #23
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Today was a hard day to be a starfish thrower at the food bank.

    a woman brought her young neighbor and the neighbor's little boy in to sign up. Then she took me aside to tell me the neighbor has a mental illness, so her behavior might be off the next time she comes in. She also felt a need to tell me she didn't know how long the neighbor would be coming because she had "a man" living with her who is "verbally abusive to both of them. I can hear him all the time from my house." (Is she hoping the girl will run? Get money from the man and not need food? Expecting her to be killed?)

    the boy was the age of my heart grandson. He was very shy and uncertain at first, but he let me find him a new shirt from the rack and give him a bear. (the mom Said "thank you. He doesn't really have any toys."). I listened to her tell me all the reasons he misses school all the time, and I told him "I bet your teacher misses you. I'm a teacher, and I would miss you." I packed them Cheerios, pretzels, crackers, cookies, fruit salad and applesauce and threw in a bag of fruit gummies from my station, found the first bear a friend, and thanked him for coming to visit. And that was all I could do.

    he looked happy when he left, but I was wishing I could have given him a new pair of sneakers (he needed them) and a book at least. And preferably a safe, quiet, predictable place to sleep and eat and play and read and learn and grow.

    when my dd and her best friend first went to help at this food bank, the guy who runs it asked "so, are you just here for your graduation hours?" (required community service hours) and dd said "maybe next year, I'm not old enough to fill them in yet." And her friend said "I'm here because when I was a little kid, you fed me." He went out of state a couple years later and got a college degree. So, Cheerios and a bear aren't much, but maybe they're something?
    Blessings to you and your tender heart, Chicken Lady. That post really touched me.
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  4. #24
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    My husband and I deliver Meals on Wheels. We are on a tight schedule and don't ever get there early when a lot of the drivers congregate and have coffee and donuts before they load up. We also don't stay after for the meal that is offered from the kitchen. It was a couple of years before one of the administrators suggested that we could take two of the packaged meals and milks since we were not able to eat in the dining room. We agreed to that but I'm sure that somebody could look at that and think we were taking meals that should be for somebody else. We do get a gas reimbursement and I think it is very nice that they also offer the volunteers a meal as well.
    Tuesday is bread day and people coming to the center are allowed to take two loaves. We have a few people on our route that appreciate the additional bread so we take it to them. It makes us look like we are taking more bread than what is allowed. One of the drivers works for Dave's Killer bread and brings in bread only for the volunteers that is kept in our locked volunteer room. That would also look like we were taking the "good" bread but this is something that one volunteer does for the others.
    I volunteer in a couple of different places and there are the black and white rules and then there are some work arounds that are agreed on for what ever reason. Sometimes it has taken me a couple of years to figure things out. I've just learned that things are not always what they seem but when in doubt I ask about it. I wouldn't be cool with people skimming things that are meant for somebody else.

  5. #25
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    Last night we were slammed. 29 visitors between 5:00 and 7:50.

    Sharon's back was giving out on her again, Betty's hands were shaking by the end of the shift. I was tired and I'm at least 20 years younger.

    we had a ton of cakes and bread from the local groceries. Frank insisted on limiting each family to one cake. He also got angry at the older woman who came in with the little girl and boy and tried to take three gallons of kool aid. He told her two was enough and she had more than enough groceries and to go.

    i asked one of the long time volunteers if Frank was trying to fix people's nutrition and she said "no, he's trying to fix the greed, but you'll never fix that."

    I asked if I could take a bag of rolls last week because I had underestimated my bread needs and was going to have to go shopping early to cover two sandwiches for dh for work. I was told "sure, take whatever you want, you've earned it." We bagged up three garbage bags of moldy bread for chickens last night. Before we opened - it's warm and humid in the building now and the bread stays on shelves.

    when I look at people walking out with two sheet cakes or 5 plastic grocery bags of bread, I don't think greed, I think that I hope they have a freezer. I am glad we won't be bagging that food for chickens. The woman with the little kids might be doing ok and just trying to grab as much free stuff as possible, or she might be a grandmother on social security suddenly raising her grandkids alone and staring down the end of the school year and free lunch program, wondering how she's going to get them through the summer.

    it's hit and miss if we have fresh vegetables. It's possible you could come three or four months in a row and never get any due to unfortunate timing.

    I think we probably see more insecurity than greed.

    also last night, some of the guys were giving me a hard time about how I "drive" the wagons. And were tossing around ideas of other jobs they thought could do. Frank said "it can get pretty rough around here." In a sort of cautionary you may not have realized what you're getting into tone (the other woman all work inside only, I'm the only girl wagon puller/truck unloader.

    i had had a rough day at school Wednesday and I said "I spent half of first period yesterday explaining to a 16 y.o. How her birth control works. You guys aren't going to throw anything at me I can't handle." He said "I'm sorry I asked. Actually. I didn't ask."

    The kids at school are bringing me empty egg cartons so I can take my extra eggs to the food bank. Yesterday the 5 dozen I brought in were all we had.

  6. #26
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    We have now Blessing Booth set up on the rails to trails I ride. Drop food and goods off, take as one would need, no questions or people maintaining it. I am now waiting to see how fast some will use it as a trash dump. A stolen bike that had been on the trail for a week or two got moved there, still laying in the weeds. I am afraid it will get trashy looking very soon sadly. I am wondering if the booth was placed in the wrong location really. A church also set up a cute little house booth to do the same with. It has been filled to the brim with foods and such. Again wrong area as perhaps there are not many in need out here as in other parts of area.

  7. #27
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    I am thinking that unless homeless people are camping out on the rails to trails easement, there is no need for it in that location. I would be tempted to treat the booth as a drop bin and take the stuff in it to an actual charity.

    but I also take things out of the recycling drop bin that don't recycle/could still be used and donate the usable stuff. I once found three garbage bags of stuffed toys - 24 hours later they'd all been through my washing machine with bleach (for germs) and dried hot (for bedbugs) Most of them looked really good and went to goodwill. The ones that didn't went to animal rescue.

    also, may I ask what is keeping you from taking the bike to the local police?

  8. #28
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I didnt know that Kool Aid comes in gallons.

    Kool Aid and sheet cakes--thats a party!

    The site along the trail for food seems misdirected do-gooding.

  9. #29
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    I would never eat/drink anything in such an exposed unsecured place like those Blessing Booths. Dangerous. Food banks at least have security (well as much as possible), sanitation, and basic food safety rules in place.

    I would be more distressed over how the people coming for food are being treated (and I am only reading what is posted) than the amount of food they are taking. Volunteers need to be compassionate. There is a nice way to explain something that does not involve "angry". Wonder what those two little kids heard and saw.

  10. #30
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    SO these Blessing Booths are in other places around the country?

    Yes that was my feeling too, but without sounding harsh, I have seen the homeless men on the trail going through the trash cans often. These fellows you could set the clock by daily as they leave the mission in the morning and head back at dinner time. Why would you ask I would notice this? I am a single lady running and biking and when I first moved here this stuck out like a sore thumb to me and I am always alert, not judging. I think this would be a nice booth perhaps closer to town on the trail where the many many Homeless{?} hang out. Out on the trail farther, I have noticed since I moved here many summers ago, these men do not generally venture miles out from the city. I have never seen a mom or kids out there that far.

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