Yesterday was my Give A Day volunteer day, and I was really excited. The organization I was helping had planned a Weekend Snack Pack program to distribute lunch bags full of healthy food to the kids who benefit from weekday school lunch programs but don’t have access to that food over the weekends. The program is so cool!
Well, anyway, this is the first year for the program, and they are still organizing. But we arrived at 2:30 with personally donated food in huge bags and we planned to be there for a few hours. We were at a beautiful hotel in the ballroom. Really nice surroundings, and I was already feeling a little sheepish that my work would be a short afternoon in a lavish ballroom instead of a full day of construction work or something harder!
There were a lot of people who were clearly there to enjoy making a difference. But there were others there too who were just there for the free park day. One elderly couple were busy congratulating themselves on how they found such a cushy Give A Day program! I was steaming mad at them! But, so many people were rocking the true intent of the day that it was OK – there was a group of employees from UPS who were there to chip in as well, so it was not just Disney people.
The organizers were very gracious and their organizing skills were phenomenal, and in a matter of minutes, they had unloaded vans full of juice boxes, canned meals, cereals, etc. and they asked us to unpack all the cartons, organize the foods onto banquet tables and break down the boxes for recycling. There were a dozen of us there, and the whole procedure took only 30 minutes! We were expecting them to say our next duty was to stuff the individual lunch bags, but instead they thanked us for our service and explained another group was coming in to stuff the bags!
My guilt went into severe overdrive!
I feel really badly that 30 minutes of light work is translating into a free park day, when so many other people are devoting an entire day of serious hard work. And of course that older couple were truly thrilled at their good fortune. Grrrr.
So, my point is, it was terrific to support Disney’s efforts to encourage volunteerism and it felt great to be involved with a program that addressing childhood hunger. But in the end, I felt like I benefited more than the charity did, and I feel a little sad about that.