Monday, February 13, 2006

Food Pantry Work

This is actually a story about my Dad. He has volunteered for many years at the local Food Pantry in his hometown of "Smalltown, Illinois" - - putting in lots of hours every week, picking up donations from churches and meat lockers, counting, sorting, and putting away cases of canned goods. I was pretty concerned that it would start being too much for him. When I tried to talk to him once a few years ago, he told me a little story - -

[Once when I was about 12 years old, my family took a trip up to Iowa to visit some relatives in the Quad Cities area. We stopped at a small town diner around lunchtime. There was another family sitting in the diner, travelers like we were, stopping to get a bite to eat. One of their children (about 7 or 8 years old) said to his Dad, "Gee, Dad, these ketchup sandwiches taste really good with meat in them!"

I was only 12 years old, but that really hit me. I never forgot that poor family who couldn't afford to feed their kids anything but meatless ketchup sandwiches. And I promised that if I could ever do something to try and keep other little kids from having to eat plain ketchup sandwiches, I would. That's why I work at the Food Pantry. I'm helping families feed their kids.]

I never said a word to Dad again about all the hours he puts into the Food Pantry.

And when Mom passed away 3 years ago, he stepped up the hours he spent there. I'm glad he has that place - - it really kept his mind busy and kept him "grounded" during his grieving process.

Wish I could have had something like that to keep my mind occupied . . . .

But anyway - - this past weekend was the Boy Scouts Annual Food Drive. They called my Dad, who met them up at the Food Pantry, so they could drop off their collections. They pulled up in a panel truck - - full - - and 8 people started carrying in sacks of food.

And carrying . . .

And carrying . . .

And carrying some more.

By the time they finished, the Pantry was so full of bags of food you couldn't even walk through the place! Dad just locked the door and decided Sunday was another day - - he would start counting and sorting items then. He got home and called Dear Hubby and me, and proceeded to tell us the good news. When I asked him who was going to be helping him sort, count, and put away items, he didn't have anyone. He tried to make a couple of phone calls, but came up empty-handed - - lots of people had church events planned for that following day.

SO - - Dear Hubby and I drove South and met him at the Food Pantry to help. In just under 2 hours, we had counted, sorted, and put away over 850 items.

And we were not through yet - - there were still plenty of sacks left! *sigh*

Then the Service Learning Class teacher from the Middle School showed up at the Pantry, and told Dad that she planned on having the students work on the food collections, because they needed the community service hours for their grade. She had not been sure who to call. Dad told her from now on to just contact him, and he would make sure to meet the kids there so he could supervise and also sign off on their work sheets. She told him they would be back up at 4:00 to finish up the rest of the work.

So we left, and went back to Dad's house to rest up a bit before heading back towards home.

It's a good feeling, helping other people. Dear Hubby and I had some other things planned for yesterday, but decided to push them back a couple of hours so we could help out Dad.

I'm glad we did.

I'm also VERY glad I have a husband who treats my family as if they are a part of his - - he adores my Dad, and would do anything to help that dear man. He also adored my Mom, and probably cried as much as I did when we lost her 3 years ago. And my *Grandmother*, well - - don't get me started there! She adored him, and always threatened to steal him from me! And he loved her just as much. I'm very lucky!

Oh - - Dad called us last night when he got back home from the Food Pantry. There was a total count of 1,367 items donated by the Boy Scouts Food Drive! Those young men should be very proud of all they help they are being to families in need!


Before we left to go help Dad, we saw a house for sale in the paper, that had been for sale before we bought our present home (about 11 years ago). It was having an open house that afternoon.

I had loved that house, and had been totally heartbroken when the deal fell through and we could not buy it.

SO - - We decided to go through it and see how kind (or not) the years had been to that house. I have the whole story posted on my "other blog "- - go check it out! :-)


Today is Lincoln's Birthday, and Campus is closed. It's been nice to have an extra day off! I got up REALLY early this morning (4:30 a.m., when Dear Hubby took off for work) - - went to the Gym and worked out for an hour (LOVE the morning crowd! They are zany and fun!). Then I got back home, showered and changed, and went out to run some errands. Made it home by lunchtime, and have just been kinda puttering around the house catching up on little odds and ends projects. Just a nice, relaxed day - - I need *lots* more of these!

Only problem is - - it's in the mid-30's, but the wind is gusting up around 25-35 mph - - and it's DAMN COLD out there! Glad I'm inside where it's nice and toasty warm!

Well, so much for this latest "novel" - - didn't mean to get so wordy, but it had been awhile since my last post and there was some catching up to do.

Thanks for stopping by!

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