Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another foodbank day

Just got back from the foodbank. Gorgeous day. Started out with thunder and lightning, but by mid-afternoon it was really warm and sunny.

Two weeks ago at the foodbank things were quite dismal, hardly any food available. It's depressing when that happens, you have to tell folks that you don't have much to give them and they are so disappointed. One patron said he heard on the radio that donations were down, that folks give lots at Christmas and the early part of the winter, but as spring approaches, donations go down.

So someone from Daily Bread, the foodbank mothership here in Toronto, went on air to ask for donations and last week we were swimming in food! It was amazing! Meat, milk, fresh veggies, lots of canned goods, lots of bread. But we were also inundated in patrons, it was an exhausting shift. Usually things quiet down after an hour or so and the second half of the shift is fairly leisurely, but last week we were run off our feet until closing time.

Today we had lots of food again but not so many people, so it was a bit more relaxed. The only excitement was a fight broke out on the sidewalk in front of our door. I don't think they were our patrons, just passersby. Two women, just pounding each other out and shoving each other against our door. Nobody wanted to open the door to let our patrons out for fear of getting involved in this fight. But one of the volunteers finally did open the door and yelled at the women that we had called the police. They left pretty quick. It was true, someone had called the police, but it was funny because none of us knew the address! I was trying to read it backwards on the glass of the front door.

My favourite fellow volunteer, Dennis, was there today. He didn't come last week because he put his back out. We sure could have used him last week! I teased him, told him how hard we all had to work because he wasn't there. He just laughed. I told him I was going away soon, he said he'd miss me. Aw shucks!

One very tiny older woman I was going to take through had a handful of plastic bags to put food in, and she said she had to blow her nose so she was fumbling with the bags and I offered to take the bags while she got out her kleenex. I actually reached for the bags and touched them, which really upset her. She told me off. Told me I was interfering with her freedom as a human being. I of course backed right off and apologized to her, several times even. She was really put out.

To change the subject I asked if she was ready now to get some food so she followed me to the food area, but kept lecturing me about how it was inappropriate to touch her. I agreed and said I wouldn't do that again. After I'd partially filled one of her bags she relented and said it upset her but she realized I didn't do it on purpose. But I better not do it again. Finally after we'd filled her bags and she was ready to leave she asked me my name. When I told her it was Anne, she grinned ear to ear and told me that was her middle name. She was very happy to meet another Anne. So I guess we're friends now.

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