(#48) Re-assembling Care Packages for Seniors with the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps (December 17, 2014) – Part 3 (Oof. Doing Bags Backwards)

March 28, 2015

Picking up from last time –

The way the bags had been being made was that you’d put little items in on the bottom (such as  stamps, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, soap, and a light little scarf). Then, you’d put this big blanket (that was already wrapped up for you) over that stuff – as the last thing in the bag. And it worked great. It worked great for the first part of my shift. From everything I heard, it worked great for the whole first 4-hour shift of the day.

And then someone decided to change it.

I will admit when I got to fill the one bag earlier in my shift, getting the blanket in was the hardest part. It was a pretty big blanket. So, it took some work to stuff it into the somewhat tight bag. But it wasn’t so bad. The way we did it was I held it, and the two people at the bag station stuffed it in. Yes, it took slightly longer than the other stops where people could practically throw in the small items. But in my experience, it didn’t take inordinately long.

Even still, somehow, they changed it up so that people would fill bags that already had blankets in them.

What?! Who decided this. I don’t know who decided it or how it happened. I just know that before we could do anything to stop it, we looked over to this area that was filled with so many bags with blankets. People were told they then needed to be filled with the rest of the stuff. [*head falls on desk as I write this*]

I’m pretty sure that whoever made that decision must’ve thought it was going to save time or headache. And maybe things were much tougher for the blanket stuffers than I imaged (though they still had to stuff the blankets… the hard part was the sides of the tight bag, not the bottom with stuff in it… so I have no idea how doing blankets first really made anything easier for them).

But the only thing this did was annoy, confuse, and even hurt people!

Some people were confused as to what had the small stuff in it and what didn’t, since all the other finished bags also looked, from above, just like rolled up blankets in bags. And then, when people cam through, we had to try to stuff the smaller goodies into the already tightly squeezed sides of the bag (so the stuff hopefully wouldn’t fly out). A bunch of us in the assembly line were literally getting cuts because of the plastic sides of the bags we were catching our fingers on as we tried so hard to stuff things in there. (Ow!)

A bunch of us actually bled. Yes, it’s just small cuts. No one was seriously injured. But still… I hope none of the recipients of these bags have any blood on their stuff!

And this is where we’ll pick up next time.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?