Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

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 🙂


{December 16, 2009}   Give. Feed. Clothe. Help…

It’s the semester end for many high schools and I know lots of the students are seeking extra credit and doing plenty of last-minute panic in trying to get their mandatory hours in. Knowing how the Generation Y and Me seems to operate in regard to volunteering, I organized a Food Drive Blitz. Come to me from 4:00-5:00 with your food items for the Food Banks for the Holiday’s and I’ll sign off on service hours. Our staff Association is running the drive so why not add to it and help it out?

In the first 15 minutes we received 75 food items. Not too shabby, throughout the hour, more donations rolled in, but it was the first 15 minutes that I was stoked about. We had lots of Ramon Noodles, Snack Pack and Ravioli. I really didn’t care what they donated, they were donating. They were helping their community and the library was a place to do that.

It’s not a direct service to the library, but a direct service to the community that we help serve. Every little bit helps. I was thrilled with the participation. We did the same thing around the end of October for the Thanksgiving Holiday and throughout the summer. Sometimes its just getting our young people involved in the easiest way that brings them back for more. On the staff side, we have a tree that we have in our buildings that have the wants of our adopted families. Out in our lobby we have a mitten and hat tree. It feels good to help others. We need to help others, but most importantly, we have to want to help others. As Volunteer Coordinators, creating those opportunities, is a big part of what we do.

Things don’t have to be so difficult. Sometimes an opportunity can be as  simple as a can of Ravioli.

{December 15, 2009}   Bookmobile and Mobile Outreach

et cetera
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