WARNING: If I were smart, I'd have started these dear diary letters before Wednesday morning. If there are typos, if things don't make sense, I sincerely apologize! I'm hopped up on Amoxicilin and NyQuil (I always get sick this time of the year), and we're all running on just a few hours sleep.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that I have a love/hate relationship with this week. I love the rush, adrenaline, and the sheer madness that is Thanksgiving week. I love seeing people mobilize and work their tails off to feed thousands of people. But it's long hours. Extremely long hours. By the time 8pm on Wednesday rolls around, it will be like zombies walking around our facility. Three days. More than 40 hours put in by a ton of volunteers and team.
But this is a way to share some of the things that are happening with you that have kept us sane. To say this somewhat resembles the funny farm is the understatement of the century. I try to make it a point to know people. I have mistaken clients for volunteers, volunteers for clients, and even a construction worker behind our building...I told him to come load a box onto a truck.
We signed up more than 900 families for Thanksgiving. Nine hundred families to distribute in a three day span on top of a very busy food pantry, this time of the year. We signed up 150 more families than last year. That in and of itself is not entirely surprising. And 150 more Thanksgiving boxes doesn't seem like that much...but we changed EVERYTHING from last year.
I'm not quite sure when our current standard operating procedures began for Thanksgiving, but we assumed people wanted some kind of meat, a few vegetables and some sort of grain. But we never bothered to ask clients what they wanted. This year, that changed. We asked clients what they wanted. We gave everyone a choice on their meat, vegetable, grain, and even dessert. While we haven't been able to accomodate everyone, it's definitely a step in the right direction. We also partnered with the Ballard Center to bring this choice option to their clients as well. It's pretty unprecedented. And very awesome.
So, amidst turkeys, chickens and hams flying in (and out), there have been several stories that we just couldn't not share. Those stories, we will share between now and Thanksgiving in Just Food's 24 hours of Thanksgiving.