The Fun of Volunteering TogetherPosted by Guest Blogger
Guest Blogger: Kathy Sullivan (Local Collette Foundation Manager)
My two best friends and I met over thirty years ago. All of us had babies and children who were close in age and we lived in the same neighborhood. While our kids played and grew up together, our families became like one extended family. We’ve traveled together and faced life-changing moments with the support of each other. To this day, we play tennis weekly together… and we always play cards together. Recently, we were meeting up to play tennis during the day because Linda, a school teacher, had the day off. While I was at work, I noticed that my Collette Foundation co-worker (blogger, Lynne Talks Local) sent out a volunteer notice with dates and times to volunteer at a local Food Bank. The day Linda was taking off was on the list and I thought it would be a nice thing for us to do. We all do charitable things on our own and sometimes together (we all work with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital) – and we know from experience that while it’s always fulfilling, it’s just more fun to give back with good friends. So I rang them up and they both said “YES” resoundingly.
We got to the Food Bank at 9am and were escorted into a room where we had to make bags of meals and snacks for kids’ backpacks in Newport, RI. We were told they needed 500 bags filled with juice boxes, snacks, lunch and dinner items, crackers and cookies; enough for a weeks’ worth of meals, plus snacks for the kids’ parents to pack for them for school.
We did our best in a three hour time period to do 500. In the end, with our hard work and commitment, we completed 390 bags; it was non-stop for the entire time, minus the required 10 minute break mid-morning.
To work the most efficiently, we set up our own assembly line. I gathered the drink boxes and snacks, Linda did lunch and dinner meals, and Cathy bagged, tied and boxed our parcels. We filled three very large boxes stacked five high and four wide. It was busy work, but we really enjoyed doing it. Being in the company of my two best friends is always so much fun. This experience didn’t lend much time for chatter, but we enjoyed ourselves and mostly, we enjoyed knowing that we were together helping to make a difference in the lives of children.
As noon time came, we finished our last pallet and got ready to leave. As we were walking out, we ran into four Collette employees who had just arrived and were taking over where we left off, so I know for a fact that the 500 bag goal was met that day, thanks to the Collette Foundation volunteers.
After Cathy, Linda and I left, we got home and sat down. We played cards for a few hours and relaxed and talked about how truly nice it was to volunteer together. We’ve grown together all these years and I was overcome with the feeling that somehow when we do something like this, we witness each other in the best possible light; we wind up being even more appreciative that we’ve had the good fortune of over thirty years of friendship with people that really care about helping. I can’t wait for us to do this again sometime soon.