Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Going back to the food bank

I came back to work another volunteer shift at the food bank. It has been about six months since I have last been here. Most everything is still the same, except for the things that have changed.

The sign that reads "Milk is only available to families with children" has been upgraded from a handwritten note on the back of a newsletter to a word processed and printed sign on a fresh sheet of paper cradled in a sheet protector. It used to get taken down when milk supplies were good. Looks like that hasn't happened in a while.

There is stress in the air that was not here a half year ago. Volunteers are bailing out the moment their shift ends instead of lingering to help with one more thing. Not as many people are smiling.

The place is busy. All last winter I never worked a shift as crazy busy as my first couple hours back.

A temporary work station has been built out of milk crates in the prep area. Apparently it has been busy enough that it's not worth the effort to pack it up.

There are gaps in our record books now from people taking a number to get in queue, but leaving before they make it to the front of the busy waiting room.

There are war stories now. The full time employees talk of a bleak day in October when they gave out over twelve thousand pounds of food in a single day. That's more food than the big real estate agent food drive brought in. Some of the smaller pantries in the county were cleaned out down to the bare shelves that day.

I don't know about you, but when the food bank gets busy like this I start getting scared.

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