Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lack of Attention PT 3 (final)

Sorry to leave you hanging, but I'm bad at this stuff.

When I last left you, I had chosen to take the community service job at the Santa Clarita Community Center. I had no idea what I was in store for.

I'll skip the part of my initial meeting with Brenda and just cut to the chase of what really matters.

This building does a lot within our community. They house the following resources: Salvation Army, Veterans Office, Single Mothers Outreach, County Food Pantry, ESL classes. I'm sure that I'm missing something, but you get the idea. They also are involved with Toys for Tots, Disaster Relief, FEMA, etc.


And throughout this building I met a wealth of vey nice people that were very gracious of my presence. A lot of these employees were part of the Title V Senior Citizen Employment Program. It is a program that puts senior citizens in the workplace and gives them experience and on the job training so they can move on again.

I'm sure a lot of people just show up and clock in and do the minimal to get by. I'm not that guy. I looked for things to do and asked people if I could help them. When you're busy, time will fly by.

I was picking up day-old food from local grocery stores and Starbucks and driving to the valley and to East L.A. to the other foodbanks to pick up food to bring back. We'd do this every Thursday. When we got back we'd unload the truck and put things away. It could be breads, muffins, cakes, frozen items, beans, rice, canned goods, etc. They really got everything that someone would want to eat.

They really needed one of me forever. They needed someone to crawl in the back of the truck on their knees, to lift boxes and really just work. That kind of work isn't meant for a senior, but we all know how this works, and I won't go into that.

So... I found out that people can come for bread every day. They can come for food once a month. And although it is a lot of food that they can take, it isn't enough for a month. Maybe a couple of weeks. A single person would leave with about 8-10 cans of misc fruits & veggies, some canned meat (tuna fish, ham), bag of rice, bag of beans, milk, bunch of bread, and maybe a couple of other things. If you were a family or a couple, the numbers went up a bit, to just under double of the single guy. But that was it. Thanks, we'll see you next month. Everyone has a file and they keep track of everything.

The food pantry has a lot of food, but not enough to give away more. The Salvation Army is the same, but they would get cosmetics from Costco too. Like if a package of 10 bars of soap was damaged and one bar was broken, they'd get the 9 other bars. I saw that a lot. Or with multi packs of lotions, still very usable items. They'd get diapers and detergents too. The Salvation Army would order their food and the county would get their food allocated.

But what I learned most here is that you need to really take stock of what you have and be grateful. There are so many more people that don't have anything. I didn't fully realize the extent of that until I worked here. I filled a box of stuff for a small family and then gave it to them. That is something completely different. Words can't explain that feeling. Please donate to them or to anyone. Remember, there definitely are resources for the homeless and people in unfortunate circumstances. The people on the side of the road are in a different situation. I'm not assuming things, but they have to know of the food banks and community sources like this.

Anyhow, there is so much to talk about and I'm running out of time. I'll touch on some more of this later.

Share with me some of your experiences.


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