Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{December 17, 2010}   out of the mouths of babes…

I finally picked up my Christmas Tree. Lowes was having a super-duper sale so I practically got my Frasier fir for free (try saying that 10 times fast). I even splurged on the $3.50 live wreath for my door. Very pretty and very fragrant. I dragged my find up to the register and out of her plywood and plastic fortress came a smiling bundled up customer service rep all geeked up to use the chain saw. She gave me a fresh-cut, bundled my tree in some netting and cashed me out.

As a true shopping diva for this go around, I used my debit card. Sue was commenting on how earlier in the day, a mom and her small daughter came in and purchased a small potted miniature tree for the little girl’s room. The mom’s plastic card was worn, scratched, the magnetic strip was shot and Sue had to hand punch everything in, making it for a very long experience at the cash register. Things were almost ready for total when out of the blue, loud and proud the little tot, in pink, with rosy red cheeks, white fake fur hat and mittens, all crisp and sugar-plum fairy-ish yelled out…


Sue said it was if time had stopped. Mom was mortified, the little girl was forced to apologize and Sue thanked them for their purchase and sent them on their way.

When Sue was telling me that story, we had the best little giggle. She asked if I needed help loading the tree into my truck. I politely told her no, and said “Thanks anyway, old lady.” We giggled again.

Kids…where do they learn this stuff??


It’s that time of year where we put the tubs out in the lobby and ask for donations to help supply the food banks. Schools are doing it, businesses are doing it and we do it through the end of the year. My office collects all year-long. People are hungry all year-long and it’s not uncommon for some of the volunteers I work with to grab a can of soup or beans from the tub outside my office .

Not that beggars can be choosers, but I always tell the teen groups I work with to donate canned food that they like to eat. Ravioli, Mac and Cheese, Spaghetti-O’s. Why is it that when people donate canned items, they always give the items that they don’t want in their cupboard or that’s been in their cupboard since the cold war? I’m actually surprised at some of the food that’s in my box. Canned applesauce? Creamed Split Pea Soup? 10 cans of Cream of Celery?

I’m not sure what people are expecting out of the people who are forced to turn to food banks. Are they thinking they’ll be so grateful that they’ll puncture that can of lima beans with a dull knife and just start gulping it with half gloves and grubby fingernails?

More and more people of all types are going to food banks to help supplement their meals. Lots of food banks now are voucher free and lots of these food banks are helping our neighbors, patrons and community members be able to stretch their income to pay for essentials like housing and transportation to work.It’s a tough world out there.

When you donate to the banks, remember who they are helping to feed: Children, Elderly, Growing Babies and Teens. Think high nutritional donations. Peanut Butter, Canned Tuna, good soups loaded with veggies and meat. Cream of Chicken is a good donation choice, but remember that those item types mostly complement real chicken in casseroles and dinners.

I know it’s the thought that counts, but let’s make sure we are thinking it through. Donate what you like to eat, you’ll feel  more connected and better about it in the end! You will…believe me 🙂

et cetera
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