Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A rewarding experience

gmbmbadge.jpgYesterday I volunteered my day at Some Other Place.

Let me explain for a minute...

Some Other Place is a local charity group that, among other things, operates a soup kitchen on weekdays.

The name comes from people who are looking for help being told to go some other place to get help. Quite clever I think.

Anyway, yesterday I helped with their "Back-to-School Store."

As I understand it, parents apply with Some Other Place to get help for getting their kids set for school. Those that are accepted are given a time to come in and get new clothes and school supplies for their kids. Free haircuts are also offered for kids who want them courtesy a local stylist/barberette/whatever you call people who cut hair these days. My personal preference is "the chick at Sport Clips," but I know that's not the proper term.

Now that I think about it, with the weird names they have for positions, it's probably something along the lines of "hair maintenance professional."

But enough for that little dodge off topic.

I was put to work as sort of an escort (no, not that kind you perv!), taking people through the various stations and helping them get the stuff for their kids. Not a hard job at all, seeing as the people at the stations did most of the work (going through the clothes, getting the school supplies together, etc.).

I don't have any remarkable stories from the day, but my grandmother did. One of the children she was escorting through was trying on a pair of pants (we had makeshift dressing rooms set up). While he was in there, his brother popped in, took the pants he'd been wearing and ran out. Mom corraled the kid pretty quickly and didn't seem too amused I'm told, but my grandmother certainly was.

In the afternoon I was asked to make a run to Sears to pick up some more clothes as soon as they had our order ready. Knowing it would be most of an hour, my grandmother suggested I take her car and swap it out for my PT since we rode up together in her car. When I got back from that I took another family through, training two people who'd shown up for the afternoon to do the escort thing while I was at it.

After that I headed off to Sears, figuring everything would be ready by the time I got there. It wasn't quite, but I only had a ten or fifteen minute wait, which wasn't so bad. When it was finished and bagged up, I pulled my car around to the back and loaded the ten or so very large bags filled with clothes into my car and headed back to Some Other Place.

When I got there I got lucky. Someone who'd parked right by the door was leaving just as I pulled in and I snagged their spot, went inside, and recruited a couple of people to help me bring in stuff.

When we got it all in, the volunteers working the shirts and pants tables sorted through what I brought and madness erupted at the shirts table, as Sears had sent us a very wide variety of nice shirts for the kids in all sizes, a stark contrast to the bland polo shirts that we'd had before.

After I got settled down from that I took one more family through and was done for the day. I headed home worn out after a long, rewarding day.

If only I'd thought to bring my camera and take some pictures.

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Tots said...

Dude, that was a great thing you did. Volunteering is without a doubt the most rewarding thing anyone can ever do.

You are OK in my book (allright, so you ALREADY WERE but that is beside the point).

Dean said...

Justin, good on ya.

Totally off topic: I notice you are from Beaumont. I was in Beaumont exactly 10 yrs ago... August... sweltering... oppressive heat and humidity. Thank goodness for the air-conditioned VFW hall across the tracks from the marine terminal where they served ice-cold dollar drafts.

I would have never got any work done, otherwise.

Justin said...


That's a pretty accurate description of summer here.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Your awesomeness was featured on BS Sunday on the Houston Chronicle Online: