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My American Community: THW&I sponsors the fight against hunger in Dallas

May 11, 2017

Just recently, near the end of March, I found myself just south of Dallas, Texas.

A Cowboys game, you ask? No, wrong time of year, and I cannot profess to be a fan of “da boyyyz” as a friend once put it….and I wasn’t there for baseball either, as spring training was still in full swing (but I did once catch the Mariners on the road in Arlington against the Rangers many years ago, so the possibility is not a far cry).

Actually, I found myself spending an afternoon at the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), sponsoring an event with the Dallas-Ft. Worth Community Association Institute (DFWCAI) — as part of an effort that day to help in beating hunger in the community.

This was my first experience of this kind, in terms of serving as a volunteer and sponsoring this sort of community cause. I once heard a rumor that you leave this sort of experience feeling “warm fuzzies,” as it were….or would be. I guess I’d find out.

I drove up from Austin that afternoon, collected my t-shirt, introduced myself to a few warm bodies, and signed in after stepping into the break room. The masses soon arrived, and we congregated into the warehouse. After putting a group of about 200 of us through a couple training videos — most if not all of the volunteers affiliated with DFWCAI as community association staff and vendors — we broke off into a dozen groups to assemble boxes of food. Being on a bit of a learning curve with volunteering at a food bank, and how the drill plays out, I figured out that we were a designated group arranged far in advance with a 2-3 hour time slot to perform our work.

NTFBNorth Texas Food Bank runs a slick operation. After some organizing and sorting of warm bodies, we were up to speed and off to the races. Before we knew it, our smaller group of about 15 volunteers had a conveyor belt-like system that involved sorting and grouping various food items, and running boxes down the line to fill. At the end of the line, more volunteers packed the boxes shut and stacked them on pallets for their next destination.

Everyone I met was very friendly and interesting, and I was able to hear some good stories from the front lines of community associations. It was good socializing, but also hard work. I soon felt myself breaking a sweat, and it was impossible to not feel the motivation to pack as much as possible, since we were working within a finite window of time that afternoon.

In the end, I did feel the warm fuzzies, as they say, after spending an afternoon helping fight hunger….and it didn’t matter that it was for a community far away from where I live. Whether it’s in Texas, Illinios, Washington, or somewhere else in this great nation — it’s still community — MY American community. In some ways, traveling the distance to do this made it that much more special.

I recommend this sort of volunteer event to anyone, whether you’re affiliated with a larger organization or just wanting to help out on your own. I’ll look forward to helping out at the NTFB again sometime. I have the maroon-sleeved raglan baseball shirt to remind me!

A shoutout to the helpful folks at the NTFB, in addition to James Nicholson, the Chapter Executive Director at DFWCAI for helping to accommodate my sponsorship efforts for this event.

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