The shadow knows…shopping

Spent today doing some more job shadowing for my upcoming position change. This time, it was learning how to do a MANNA run. MANNA is our local food bank. Since the Emma Resource Center where I’ll be working has a food pantry component that provides food boxes for residents, part of my job will be to order food from MANNA and pick it up every week to replenish our stocks.

Basically, this means that on Wed or so, I put in an order for the following Tues from their list of what’s available on the “by reservation only” choice items menu, which has to be paid for out of program funds. However, that’s only a small part of the haul. The fun part is shopping the salvage area (donations, dented stuff, banged up boxes, overstocks, etc). That stuff doesn’t cost anything and you can just load up.

We got packing boxes full of bread, shampoo, energy bars, juice, cereal and so on, then filled up three other boxes with whatever random stuff they had that “looks good,” by which they mean that it seems nutritious, familiar to the largely Hispanic and Slavic residents (no Thai coconut-ginger soup mix that requires additional coconut milk, for example), and reasonably convenient. No junk food, no crap, nothing tricky or likely to be left unused.

For example, the bread we got was all whole wheat. I snagged several hermetically-sealed squeeze-boxes of organic chicken and veggie broth. We grabbed cans of pineapple and pumpkin puree, chilies, tuna and other healthy staples. Tossed in some rice, some pilaf mixes. And so on. Volunteers haul it all back to Emma, where even more volunteers are waiting to unload the goods and shelve them. So really, you’re just shopping with other people’s money and being encouraged to use high standards, with the bonus of having happy volunteer porters to tote it back for you, all in the name of helping out. It was great fun and I look forward to doing it during the summer placement.

We also went tooling around downtown trying to roust a volunteer masseuse or two for the Mother’s Day event, then hit the library to snap up some CD’s, which will provide ambiance for the event. All that, and I still managed to have an hour and a half left to do stuff at the school! Spiffy.

Speaking of the school, we had a weird happening today. My supervisor (who’s the school counselor) was sitting in her car in the parking lot when she noticed some guy looking into other car windows. He saw her and, apparently thinking she was leaving, pretended to leave the area himself by going around the corner of the building. Only she wasn’t leaving and when she was coming back in, she met up with him around the other side of the building. She questioned him about his presence, but didn’t get an answer she felt comfortable with, so she asked him to leave the area and went inside to call the police, just in case. Somewhere in all this, it seems he was also trying a few of the exterior doors (all but one or two are locked to folks outside). The cops came and did a full sweep, and that’s pretty much all I know. Probably a crackhead looking for an easy score, but you never know. Could’ve been a domestic dispute or custody thing, even a perv. Better safe than sorry, especially when you’re dealing with kids.

Anyway, that’s about it, other than the fact that I enjoyed yet another round of lovely weather and lilac snorgling on my walk in. Life is tough.

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