So, I ran across a quote once that said "when I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. This is my religion." That works for me as a basic foundation.
i'm sure people work at the food bank for many reasons. Most of them have been connected through ther churches. Some come as part of company service projects, and I have the impression that a few are there to meet "workfare" program requirements.
i am there because in the current political/social climate I have a greater need to meet, get to know, and understand my neighbors, and because anything I can think of to do about issues that matter to me makes me feel less powerless, less hypocritical, and less panicked.
there are things at the foodbank that bother me. I am trying not to judge. I am trying not to project my values onto other people. Many of these people have helped to keep this place running for decades. I choose to go on the assumption that they know what they are doing and the motivations behind their actions are reasonable and positive. It still bugs me when they do things like skim off the gluten free brownie mix or almond butter to take home. I think those things need to be available to the population they were donated to, then again, some of the volunteers might qualify as part of that population and just not be registered. Pride is strong.
otoh, some of the volunteers who do this also criticise some of the clients as greedy for taking too much cake or bread (there are no limits) or comment on their weight.
Several volunteers fill a bag with food items every week. They also take food to cook for church events. They are very open about it - one woman came back today and asked me if we had any canned pumpkin. I said "one" and she said "oh good, can you get it for me, so-and-so is making a pie for such-and-such dinner and she never takes any pumpkin." I handed her the pumpkin. I didn't ask about the taking. I want to ask, because I want to understand, but I'm afraid it's a violation of their social conventions. (Is it an unspoken rule that we don't talk about the unspoken rules?)
they have accepted me warmly, even when they give me strange looks for not knowing things like which Monday is the Monday after Easter. I'm sure part of it is my relative youth, strength, and energy level, but I try to be polite, positive and helpful. I may need more direction than they would like, but I take direction well.
they have been very nice about cooperating with my need to recycle their plastic wrap. Even though I am probably a little OCD about it.
leftover/expired food goes to a woman who picks it up for her chickens and sometimes brings eggs, or sometimes to mike's pigs - who provide nothing, but mike works hard. And lately Ruth - the self proclaimed "Jesus nazi" (who bugs people to go to church, but not me for some reason) has taken to insisting I take a box or two for my chickens on days the regular chicken lady doesn't come.
i feel bad about this, but I can't decide if it's "doing bad". Part of it is that my chickens are not donating eggs - my family is eating all the eggs. Part of it is that Ruth - whose job includes purging the bread table every day, often throws in bread that is new and fresh because "nobody ever takes this stuff" (whole grains, rye, pumpernickel, raisin, sour dough - bread I love, which I then eat instead of giving to the chickens) so, I feel a little like I am undeservedly taking bread from people who need it, or eggs from people who need them (surely the bread could sit around getting even more stale for a few days until the other lady comes) or from mike's pigs (although he doesn't seem to mind).
otoh, I like having the bread.
today they gave me a 25lb bag of rice. They have been trying to give it to me for three weeks. I keep asking if we can't offer it to someone. They think no one will ever eat that much rice, and we are not allowed to repackage it (health dept). Today they insisted I take it "for the chickens" to free the shelf space. The expiration date is over a year away. I will eat that much rice. But I just feel a little sad about it.
i also feel sad because Ruth spent her shift loudly tearing someone down today. Someone who won't be coming back to the food bank because Ruth told her her shift had been filled (by me) because they don't want her there anymore. She stopped coming to church. And she has a boyfriend half her age. And she's a hoarder. I tried to say I was a hoarder and to offer some insight, but I literally couldn't get a word into the conversation without talking over someone.
i think I need some feedback on this stuff from outside. Anyone?