Friday, April 23, 2021

Millennials Helping Out

As a follow-up to my March 26 blog post regarding my book reading of Lulu and the Hunger Monster presented to Gather Food Pantry volunteers, I want to share a recent email from our Gather Board of Directors President citing a dedicated millennial helping to end hunger.

 “One of the advantages of my former profession, and the fact that I am now fully retired from it, is the amount of free time that it afforded me to indulge in volunteering with my pet project at Gather—Meals4Kids/Mobile Markets.

There are so many reasons that the experience feeds my soul, but one of the highlights is in working with the young people who have committed to doing the heavy lifting, and along the way have also discovered the deep-seated value of helping out those who are struggling. The college interns and the high school and college volunteers who consistently show up and pitch in, bring a special energy to the work that makes this old guy feel a bit younger. 

I wanted to share with the Board a singular moment that I observed a few weeks ago, that I think will make you proud of the team of young people that Deb [our Executive Director] and Seneca [our Associate Executive Director] have put together to run these programs. 

At a recent Mobil Market for Meals4Kids, I was signing in the shoppers when a woman approached me and told me that it was her first-time shopping with us. As with so many of those who utilize our services, this woman’s life was in grave crisis. She explained to me that she had physical and medical challenges. Her son, who had been helping to take care of her had recently been killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver. Needless to say, it was an emotional moment, and the woman was tremendously grateful for the services Gather offers. I explained how the market worked, signed her in, and then went and got our college intern, and asked her if she minded helping this woman through the Market, which of course, she agreed to do without hesitation. Ten minutes later, when they were finished shopping and loading up the woman’s car with nutritious food, I was close enough to overhear the intern quietly say to this distraught woman, 'I wish that Covid wasn’t a thing, because I really want to hug you right now.' 

Over the course of the five years that I have been helping out with these Mobile programs, I have witnessed other such acts of human kindness from our staff and volunteers, and it makes me grateful to be associated with an organization that attracts and inspires this caliber of individual, young and old alike. So, a big thanks to all of our interns, and to all of our volunteers, who in their own ways, are providing more than just food to our neighbors who are hurting.”

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Importance of Using Humor in Our Work & Lives

 I have always found humor to be essential in fostering relations with friends, teachers, children, and parents. It makes building relationships a joy and fun, especially during these very trying times.

Humor, Seriously by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas is a treat to read. I love how they look at humor from the perspective of those who use humor in their work, e.g. stand-up comedians. Their perspective and talent are inserted throughout the book, which makes it easy reading, entertaining, and most helpful.