Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Different Friday Night Out

Last night Daniel and I volunteered at The River food pantry with our church small group.  It's an organization on the far east side of town that provides hot meals, clothing, food, basic medical screenings (like blood sugar and blood pressure) and literature about paying bills, etc a few nights a week.  If you are in Madison and are interested in doing a service project for low-income community members, it's a great place.  You just show up at 5pm- no special training or screening needed- and they'll put you to work.  Daniel was the air traffic controller for shopping carts entering the food pantry area, and I worked in the clothing room just keeping things from becoming a giant mess.

Each volunteer gets a break sometime during the evening to have some of the hot dinner being served.  The whole operation was well run and everyone was in, served, and out by 8pm.  The hot dinner was actually the thing I was most impressed with.  I thought we were going to get Hamburger Helper with sides of mac n cheez, potato chips, and off-brand Oreos for sure, but actually we had ham and bean soup with 3-bean salad and a green salad.  Not only was it pretty healthy, but it tasted good.

Three things that last night made me acutely aware that I take for granted:
1. I'm very thankful that I don't have to wear second-hand underwear.
2. I'm very thankful that if I'm still hungry after the small hot dinner at the food bank I can get a sandwich.
3. I'm very thankful that I don't live in my car- especially on a cold Wisconsin night.

I definitely plan to serve there again and donate clothes and housewares there.  And think back to this list when I'm tempted to complain about the never-ending winter.

What's something you know you take for granted but are actually very thankful for?