Lori has lots of grading to do this weekend. This is why I went to help collect for the food drive on a beautiful Indian summer afternoon while she stayed home and graded. Random bits from that:
- A troop of Junior Girl Scouts had been there in the morning, and one of those Girl Scouts, Lauren, had stayed on through the afternoon. She was very forceful about asking everyone, 'would you like to make a donation?', but she was somewhat incoherent about specifying whom it was for. Still, she accounted for quite a lot of donations, and had more than one person donate specifically because of her drive.
- We met Rick, the store manager. He seems to be a really nice guy; he was offering us chairs, drinks, and snacks. I used this new connection to ask him about sausage burritos and boneless skinless chicken thighs, both of which I've had trouble finding at his store. Within a few minutes, he told me that he had put out the sausage burritos and had ordered the chicken thighs for Monday. I'll wait until Monday to pick them up--I want to do my part to make sure it's profitable to make me happy.
- I was impressed by how many donations we got. I was expecting a 10-20% participation rate; I estimate that we got about 40%-50% of the passersby to contribute something.
- On the other hand, I saw more than a few people who really felt too poor to give. Joyce said that there were probably many clients of the food bank shopping here.
- One young woman asked me, "Are you a hippie?" The question made sense, because I was wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt and had long hair--it made much more sense than the "Are you Amish?" incident last summer when I was wearing the same outfit.
- One of the donation options we had was a $2 slip of paper with a bar code; it could be rung up by the cashier as a $2 item, and the money would then be credited to us. One gentleman spoke sternly to me about that, saying that it was an intimidatory tactic. (I suppose we're lucky that he didn't see the $5 slips.) I commented to Joyce afterward that I wouldn't find the slips half so intimidating as Lauren.
- I confirmed that the food bank would rather have cash than food, because they can buy food wholesale.
- I put in a check for $100, which we've been meaning to for quite a while--at Mother's Day, we had told Lori's mother that we were making a donation as her present, but we hadn't yet made the contribution. This check added substantially to the proceeds of the day. Kelly, the leader of the Girl Scout troop, mentioned several times what a big check had been added. Joyce pointed out more than once that I was the one who had put in that check, but it didn't change the way Kelly spoke about the check.
- The total for today was more than the total for both days of last year's drive at that location. Even without our check, that's quite good. I credit Lauren.