Tuesday, January 31, 2012


         When the sun came up on Monday morning, Carl took this photo. It was really neat how the sun was shining on the semi-trailer, highlighting MMDC's "Mission in Motion."
         Monday when the Muskegan, MI, volunteers were getting their tour, Judy (the former monthly volunteer and now caretaker for the rest of the year) and I checked in some of the donations that came in last week. When a group brings things in, they're weighed and recorded, but they are not added to inventory until that group leaves. It speeds things up because there's no emotional attachment to what they work with while they're here. There are 10 adults in this group from Michigan staying in the dorm.
         We sorted baby sweaters, caps, mittens, scarves, and material for sewing that first hour in the heated warehouse. Then we went into the office/workroom building. Judy got the MI group started assembling school bags while she and I began to count the bags--except we found most of them didn't have reinforced handles. So I helped 2 of the gals sew today. In the afternoon Judy showed me what to do in the workroom to clean up for the day, and I took charge of that.

         Carl and Judy's husband Dick got a group set up to varnish school desks and then cut some things out in the wood shop. In the photo above, Julie and Dick work on a school desk. Dick also showed Carl where the post office is so that from now on he can pick up the mail every day. They also weighed in the donations and moved things in the warehouse.
         The staff here is pretty laid back. They don't move too fast because they are trying to make the volunteers feel at ease. If a volunteer can't stand, they give them a tall stool to sit on. If they can't lift heavy boxes, the staff (including the coordinators) does it for them. If they can't walk long distances, we get supplies for them from the warehouse. Most of the women working on school bags were 70 to 80 years old. The ones sewing with me were 50 and 67. The staff also is adamant that everyone takes a morning AND afternoon break AND takes an hour to go back to the dorm (or in our case the duplex) to eat lunch. We work from 8:00 to 5:00, but the volunteers work from 8:30 to 4:00. Tomorrow we'll need to go over about 7:30 and start the coffee maker.
         Lots of donations don't fit specifications for UMCOR kits, so those are "re-directed." For example, someone brought in some tanned deerskins. We will take them home for the Elks to give to the Veterans Home in Iowa for occupational therapy. There also was a threaded awl for them to use to sew leather.
         By Wednesday I suspect Carl and I will be doing more of the coordinators' jobs. It'll be different having Dick and Judy here with us, but they are really nice and want us to do the job we came for even though they're staying on. In the winter the caretakers don't have as much outside work to do (mowing, etc.) although Dick's handyman jobs are on-going. Today he and Carl found a gas leak in the dormitory furnace after someone reported smelling gas.
         Yesterday we couldn't get the satellite TV in the duplex to work, but today the director called in and they fixed it online. Tonight we decided to go buy some fresh vegetables and some milk. We're maybe 5 miles from the south side of Springfield where there is a Meijer's grocery / department store. And we decided to eat in a restaurant while we were near some.
         It's good we forwarded our home phone calls to my cell phone because I had someone call today about an organization I belong to at home. I didn't know that was possible until I called a new gal in my church circle, and she said they were in Florida for the winter! It doesn't even ring in at home but transfers automatically.
         Today it was 55 degrees here, but it was breezy and didn't feel that warm. We're out in the cornfields so the prairie winds are a-blowing.
         Wednesday night we plan to go to the Springfield Elks Lodge meeting. It's nice to have that home away from home.

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