Saturday, February 18, 2012

End of our third week #16

End of our third week #16

The Warehouse Supervisor asked us if we would be willing to man the truck at our United Methodist Iowa Annual Conference in June because he has 4 states he’s supposed to be in at the same time. Last year they had a goal of filling the truck with donations from delegates to Annual Conference in Des Moines. We’ll drive to Des Moines and sit in the parking lot accepting donations and packing a rental truck leased in Des Moines. Then Carl will drive the truck to MMDC and return it in Springfield, and I’ll follow with the car so we can get home.
            This week I haven’t done as many blog postings because the wireless access at MMDC “times out” after so many hours online. It really takes most of the evening for me to massage the photos (resize them in PhotoShop), write the narrative, and post them. At the end of each week I burn a CD for the team from New of photos of them to take back to their church.
Wednesday night we went to our second Springfield Elks Lodge meeting this month. It’s nice to have that home away from home. Three of the officers will be at the national Elks convention in Austin with us this summer. We’ve been going for their Friday night meals. They have really made us feel welcome.
            It was 45 degrees here and raining on Wednesday. Heard that it was nice and sunny back home in Chucktown. On Friday and Saturday the sun came out here, but it was a little windy and felt cool.
            On Thursday night we went to a Mexican restaurant with a local couple who volunteer twice a week and go to the Chatham Methodist Church which we’ve been attending. Steve and Marilyn Marcus are called “The Band-Aid Kids” because they usually bundle 6 band-aids with a rubber band for health kits. But there are no band-aids (I’m talking cases of thousands) for them to work on right now, so they have been bundling pencils and pens for school bags, opening cases of erasers, opening blister packages of scissors, counting 50 paperclips for teacher bags, etc. They are about 90 years old and remind me of my Aunt Bert and Uncle Will. Anyway, they and friends from church go to this Mexican restaurant on Thursdays when the margaritas are half price. They call themselves the “Margarita Methodists.” I think I’ve found my calling!
We got a lot done on Friday. In the morning we had only our MMDC volunteer friends Steve and Marilyn Marcus and a friend of theirs that we met at the restaurant the night before as volunteers. It was Beulah’s first time, but I think she’ll be back. Her husband was an Elk in Decatur, IL, and she recently moved here to be near her daugher. The women opened scissor packages again—the bin in the warehouse is filling up again and soon we can start assembling school bags. Steve stamped 500 envelopes with the 3rd class postage permit for MMDC.
I got to sew hospital gowns, which is fun for me. I cut out 7 pair of large girls shorts to go with gowns already done, but because the fabric had no pattern (solid color and no obvious “right” side) I sewed the first two pieces as if they were the same leg. I flipped the next pair the other way and ended up with 2 pair of shorts! An engineer I’m not, but I finally figured it out. All that is left is the waistband elastic.
Friday morning Dick, Mark, and Carl shrink-wrapped the school desks made by the New Lenox, IL, team this week. In the afternoon Carl smashed a whole big box of pop cans for recylcing with a little hand can crusher, as required in Illinois, and loaded more metal, cardboard, and plastic to be recycled into the old ambulance (they use the back of it as a truck). MMDC recycles as much as possible, but it has to be taken to town because there is no pickup out where we are “in the country.” Then he stamped a couple of hundred more envelopes with the 3rd class postage permit.
            We went to the Elks for a pork chop dinner. It was a nice center cut, like an Iowa chop. The group of junior high youth from Morris, IL, showed up by 10 p.m. We went down and welcomed them when they got in. They are here for a retreat and will leave Sunday.
Saturday we worked from 9:00 until 1:00 with a team from Morris, IL. The 12 seventh and eighth grade girls with 2 of their Sunday school teachers and Rev Deb worked incredibly hard. As a former junior high teacher, I knew that we had to have everything ready for them—like a lesson plan! Ahead of time we got out several boxes of shampoo, deodorant, bar soap, razors, etc., to refill their work stations. Working much faster than is usual at 3 tables, they packed 777 personal dignity kits for the homeless in 4 hours! That amounted to 37 boxes with 21 PDKs each. They used all 600 towels and wash cloths layered this week by the women from Dwight, so the girls pitched in to layer more for more PDKs (towel with label up, wash cloth centered on top with label up). Carl showed them how to shrink-wrap a pallet of 28 boxes and then we blessed the pallet with everyone laying hands on the boxes.

This Morris, IL, church has been bringing their junior high youth to MMDC for about 10 years. The girls brought 65 lbs. of donated items for school kits, layette kits, and health kits.

The team gets a tour of the warehouse before they begin working.

The order of the day: assemble PDKs.

Rev Deb and the other adults packed 21 PDKs in each box.

At break time the girls went shopping at the Twice Giving gift shop. Executive Director Pat Wright acted as cashier.

Susan, Volunteer Coordinator February, kept filling their work station with supplies from the bins in the warehouse. Here’s a scoopful of combs.

 Here she brings in a bale of towels and a bale of washcloths for layering to use in PDKs.

Carl, Volunteer Coordinator, helps flatten cardboard for recycling. That bin was FULL by the end of the day!

Part of the Morris team layered towels and wash cloths.

And the last few boxes of PDKs are packed.

Then they were hauled into the warehouse.

And the 33-pound boxes were loaded onto pallets.

 Next the completed pallet was shrink-wrapped.

When it came time to clean up the workroom, Carl took several girls to put all of the cardboard to be recycled from today into the ambulance. Others swept the workroom, vacuumed the anti-fatigue mats, wiped down the tables and counter, emptied the trash, etc. What a nice, willing-to-help group! They have good reason to be proud of their hard work today.

The extra towels and wash cloths from the bales were placed in the bins for future use.

 Thanks for working so hard, girls from Morris! Our MMDC mission day was fun!

Carl treated me to a late lunch at Red Lobster, one of my favorites. I also needed to go to JoAnn’s for a button to repair a pair of pants. They combined 2 JoAnn’s stores here in Springfield into one in a former big box store, and it was fun checking it out. And I got some pattern weights; I’d never used them before coming here. They use at them on 4-by-8-foot cutting tables at MMDC when cutting out hospital gowns and 3-yard lengths for sewing kits. They sure are handy. Then it was time for a nap. That part of my usual routine has been sorely neglected since we’re “working” every day now!
A comment about the wildlife near here: Since we’re out in the country (we’re surrounded by fields of corn stubble), we see animals because we’re not inside the city limits. A stray gray momma cat and her long-haired yellow half-grown kitten have been hanging around. Of course, they get fed scraps. In fact, she was sitting outside the dorm waiting the other day when I went to do laundry. One day a huge flock of seagulls swarmed over MMDC and landed in the cornfield. Twice on East Lake Shore Drive around Lake Springfield on the way to the Elks we have seen several deer in the same place near the road in an acreage’s front yard. And last night a raccoon ran under our car on the way home. I’m sure we rolled it, but it must have survived—we didn’t see its carcass today. There are red squirrels here, and they often cross the road around the lake because there are several parks and public trails through woods along the lakeshore. And when it was cold a week or so ago, Lake Springfield was frozen along the edges. The seagulls were confused. Some of them were standing on the ice and others were floating in the open water! And today the Canada geese were out in droves in the marshes. Next weekend I’d like to visit the Henson Robinson Zoo and the Washington Park Botanical Garden.

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