Picking up from yesterday –
I was assigned as one of the people who passed out food to go in the boxes.
So, basically, I learned this is how it all works:
There are two lines that run through the warehouse, both accomplishing the same thing – just happening concurrently on different sides.
Some people tape up the bottom of boxes, getting them prepared to be filled. Then, there are people who walk the boxes all around the long semi-oval of stations of food and other goodies. Once the box is full, it goes through the automatic tape machine to close it. As that’s happening, filler of the box goes to get a new box and start all over.
Runners take the boxes from the end of the tape machine and run them outside where they are labeled. I didn’t totally get to see what all happened outside, but I think those tents also had letter writing stations available. And I’m not sure how all the boxes were sorted and everything, but the point is the magical sorting and such happened outside.
Indoors (always my favorite place), we had a grand ol’ time. The people around me were very friendly. We also had super fun mini-conversations with the people who were coming around filling the boxes. At one point, we even started a timer to see how long it took people to get back around to us. (I think it was about 5 minutes.) One guy made it a little game, trying to shave seconds off his times. It was fun and silly! I loved it.
In keeping with the whole well-run machine thing, we even had a couple volunteers who just continually re-filled the bins as we were getting low. There were never any hold-ups or slow-downs that I saw because everybody had a job. Everybody was needed. It was run quite well.
As I saw the people in the boxes going around, I saw their different strategies on how to fill it without overflowing. That looked like an incredibly fun puzzle-type job that I was dying to try.
Sure enough, toward the end (once my area was all out of everything), I got the change to run around with one box. It was an awesome challenge trying to pack it full.
At the end of the day, an announcement was made that we’d put together close to 4,000 boxes. Amazing, right?
I absolutely adored my time at Operation Gratitude. I’d love to go back anytime!