green works

Middle and I did another food drive yesterday morning.
We loved working on the one a few months ago and I decided it would be good for us to do it again.
(In truth, I will mention that I didn't think of it - I received an email asking for volunteers. Pleading for volunteers....)
This time we showed up bright and early at a huge parking lot about 15 minutes from home.
Pallets had already been stacked up and a couple of semis were being unloaded as we figured out where we could be most helpful.


It was heavy work this time - we were moving cases of cleaning supplies from the trucks to the pallets. I was a little surprised that there wasn't any food being stacked, though I did see plenty of iced tea. I was more surprised at some of the other donations.
We stacked cases of gasoline treatment, toilet cleaner, auto tire shine wipes, laundry detergent and household cleansers.
A large percentage of these items were damaged and leaking and had to be thrown away. Within an hour Middle and I were covered with bathroom cleaner. It was hard to work with sticky hands and I'm not sure our clothes survived.
We worked on anyway - Middle spent a lot of time stacking 32 lb. boxes of frozen edamame, and I spent a while breaking down chemical soaked boxes.

Green Works

I've tried a couple of Green Works products and I wasn't especially impressed with them - but that's not my point. It was wonderful to see hundreds of bottles of these products, though they aren't edible, I'm sure food pantries and people's homes will be nice and shiny after they receive these donations. We unloaded many many cases of Green Works bottles and sprays and scrubs. I've got no gripe about that. What shocked me, as I dealt with scores of crushed and smashed bottles of the stuff was the packaging. Much of what was donated was so over packaged that several volunteers spent valuable time dealing with breaking down the cardboard displays these bottles were shipped in. For each box of 24 bottles there were at least eight large sheets of folded and printed cardboard. Obviously, some of the donations were originally destined for store displays. It was a shame to deal with so much waste, and, sadly, the products sent in plain cartons did not hold up well in transportation and hundreds of bottles were leaking or cracked. The thin cardboard often didn't hold up under the weight of the shipments and much was lost.
Someone at Clorox (which has pages of environmental information on their website) needs to re-think paper usage. I have a hard time thinking a cleanser is "green" if it's packed in three heavy pieces of green cardboard and I have a hard time thinking they care about my environment if their boxes fall apart under the weight of six bottles of detergent.

ANYWAY, by the time we were done with our shift things were kicking into a higher gear. Forklifts had arrived, more volunteers were pulling in and I'm hoping more food showed up - there was an 18 wheel cookie truck waiting on the sidelines.

It will all be good, I'm sure.
We realized, as we walked back to the car, that dozens of vans and trucks had formed a line to receive the goods we were stacking.

food line

lined up for food

waiting for food

We were told, at the start of our shift, that summer is very difficult for families who rely on school lunch and breakfast programs to feed their children. So go! Find a food drive to help - OR buy doubles of cheap items at your grocer and make donations.
It's an easy thing to do and you'll feel good.


good for you guys! I used to run a children's pantry through my work. Loveit. Also- I think the clorox peeps are using the green word without really being super green. I compared it to the other really green cleaner I use and I was not impressed.
Carol said…
Headline in our newspaper today, "Food bank demands up; donations not up."

The homeless program at our church buys food from the food bank. These places contribute to other programs. The need is great in the summer but a lot of people don't think about that.

So good of you and Middle to help out.
Anonymous said…
Aw, you guys rock with your volunteer spirit! And amen to the packaging issues, especially from so-called "green" products. I want to believe that Clorox Co. etc., cares about the environment, really I do, but mostly I think it's just a marketing ploy for many of these companies.
Fannie said…
Sadly, food pantries suffer huge shortfalls in the summer months. We all think about giving during the holidays, but in the summer we just....don't. Thanks for the reminder.
Anonymous said…
Amen. We have one and it's SO EASY to help with--or donate to.
Anonymous said…
See why I love you bb? One day you're on a sunset cruise on a great sailboat.
Next day your working your bum off to help others.
Dani said…
I got all tingly reading this. I participate in things like this all the time and reading about others doing it still makes me all sappy. You and Middle done good. :) (Will Youngest join you for your 'next' time, maybe?)

I agree 200% on the packaging issue. Drives. Me. Nuts. I think you should send Clorox a link to your blog, personally. These are things the need to know.

There sure was a strange assortment of goods there. Frozen edamame? Tire wipes? Hmm. And all this time I was donating cereal and toilet paper.
MsCellania said…
Sounds like a Costco run!
Thanks for the reminder about donating NOW to Food Share. We donate school supplies to our former kindy teacher, who now works in a Title I school (90% free/reduced lunch) and I know alot of classrooms are desperate for such donations this year.
Times ARE TOUGH! It's either gas or food in some houses. Our local energy company has triple the amount of can't-pay customers - they set up a fund to help with that. Can you imagine handing your kids a ketchup sandwich and saying "We have to fill the gas tank, so we'll all be eating ketchup sandwiches for lunch and ramen for dinner this week."?!! And the mom and dad probably skip those meals so their kids can eat. So sad.
This is a good thing for you to do, and a GREAT thing for Youngest to do. Giving is the gift.
Susie Sunshine said…
Just when I think you guys can't get any groovier, you totally do.
Ginnie said…
Yea for you guys - it's so important! And I'm with you on the overpackaging - G just got one of his meds from the mail order pharmacy, and it was one bottle less than 25% full of pills, packed in a 14x14 inch plastic shipping envelope (about 5 times larger than it needed to be) with 5 pages of instructions, printed on one side only. I called the company and told them I thought they needed to rethink their use of our precious resources.