Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back in Parkdale

This post is not going to be about my trip to Belize, but I will get to it soon. I do have a bunch of things I want to say about that trip.

However...

...This is the first picture I took, at the Belize International Airport.


Welcome to the tropics!

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I've been back for two days now and am just starting to get organized again. Seems like the first day was just a daze of disorientation and the second day pretty much taken up with catching up and my foodbank shift. I still haven't managed to get out to do some grocery shopping.

I did start my To Do list for getting ready to go to Nova Scotia though. My plan is to leave here around mid-month, but that's next week and my list is long so I think end of the month is more realistic. As long as it's May though.

I had fun at the foodbank, telling folks about my trip and getting caught up with goings on there. Amy is back, she was away for six weeks travelling in Central America, everywhere except Belize! When I came in she was washing the floor, something she often does on her shift.

I am caught in a bit of a dilemma about giving out food. On the one hand I am aware of how many people are lined up and trying to make the quantities of food last so everyone gets some, but on the other hand we ought to be generous to folks until the supply is gone. And often, I look at the shelves and make a mental calculation based on how much I see there, only to find out mid-shift that actually we have a whole lot more in the basement that we can use up. I never know how much of the stuff in the basement we can use now and how much is for other days of the week that the foodbank is open.

I've been leaning toward making the food last, but one patron yesterday called me "hard" and Dennis said to me that he believed we should be generous with the folks at the front of the line because they waited a long time and ought to be rewarded for that. So I'm thinking about that. It's a complicated issue, I haven't really gone into all the details, suffice to say I might try the "generous" route next time.

One guy came in and told us that he had just gotten out of jail that day, so I did load him up with food, even stuff we were reserving for families with kids. And Robert went down in the basement and dug up some special treats for him. I like that, kind of celebrating his big day.

I mentioned to Daphne, our shift team leader, that I hadn't gotten around to buying groceries yet so she insisted that I take some foodbank food. We had some stuff donated by Costco, large trays of some kind of pasta dinner, french fries, and fruit salad. But we couldn't distribute it because we didn't have containers to serve it in. I was trying to figure out how to take some of the Costco stuff since it was probably going to go to waste anyway. Dennis came up with the idea of using one plastic bag as a kind of glove/serving spoon, and another plastic bag to scoop the pasta into. So I did that for the pasta and the french fries, and Dennis did too (to take a break from cooking). Daphne found some chocolate pudding tubs for me, and I took a loaf of German rye bread (not even expired yet!!!) that was left over at the end of the shift.

It's not great food but it beats shopping and cooking when you're tired. And it makes me feel like "one of the guys" to be eating from the foodbank too. Don't make a regular thing of it because I don't want to take food that other folks need way more than I do, but don't want to be stand-offish about it either.

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