Well here we are on the first Monday of Christmas break. What's a fun family like ours to do? That's right, we cleaned the house! There is nothing like a fun Monday morning spent organizing and dusting book shelves. While the kids were less than enthusiastic, I think we can all at least agree that it is nice to have it done.
After we got our own house in order, we decided to usher in the Christmas Spirit and look outside ourselves. I took the 3 older kids with me and we headed down to the fairgrounds to help out with the 'commodities distribution.'. A woman in our ward runs the local food bank and needed volunteers to help pass out free food to those in need. There were tables set up in a huge room and people would come, get a box, then work their way down the tables. Each table had a 'commodity' or food item like milk, bread, beans, oil, flour, sugar, potatoes, apples, etc. Volunteers manned each table handing out their item. Elise and I were assigned to the EGG table.
We had to sort through the dozens and dozens of egg boxes. We would pull out cracked and broken eggs then replace them with good ones so each carton was full. Most of the eggs are donated by local grocery stores because they have been damaged in some way, so we certainly had our work cut out for us. Somehow, we ended up being quite the kid table and 4 or 5 kids were aiding in the sorting, refilling, and distribution at our little table.
Gabe and Seth were assigned to help individuals fill and carry their boxes. As there were many elderly people, they stayed busy as well. I enjoyed seeing them come through the line helping strangers get food. I enjoyed the work, and we had to really hustle to stay ahead of it. I was talking and laughing with all of the kids and I felt really happy. It was such a good feeling to see all of the grateful people coming through the line. We live in a small town and I heard many if the volunteers greeting or chatting with people they knew. Maybe because I don't live in town, I didn't really see anyone I knew.
I was pulling eggs from a crate under the table, when a woman asked me how many eggs she was allowed to have. I looked up and smiled saying that there was no limit, when I met eyes with the women I knew. She was one of my Young Women from years ago. She was a Laurel when her family moved to Bayfield. I hadn't seen her since then, but I knew she had graduated from HS then had a baby some time after that. She is a sweet, beautiful girl and I said hello as I met her little boy that was now a toddler. She took some eggs then scooted her box on down to the next table.
I ducked under the table to sort some more eggs, but also because I could feel the sting of tears in my eyes. It made it all very real to me. Of course it always feels good when you serve, but I was really enjoying giving away eggs, in part because I had no personal attachment to any of the people coming through. It is not easy to think of the idea that people need help to buy food at Christmas.
Of course the line kept coming and I kept sorting eggs. It was still busy and fun, but I think I meant it a little more when I wished people a Merry Christmas. We stayed until the line was gone and the place was cleaned up. On our way to our car, we loaded the last of the left over commodities in the food truck. We piled in the car and I asked the kids what they thought of our afternoon. I was pleased to hear that they all had a really great experience. They all said that they felt really happy and Gabe even said 'I think that was a really great experience for us!'.