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23.35 Tons / 21,182.76 Kg
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 2:30 am    Post subject: 23.35 Tons / 21,182.76 Kg Reply with quote

Once per year, here in the US, the United States Postal Service sponsors
a food drive to benefit food banks which help those in need. The letter
carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by postboxes, and
deliver it to local food banks. This occurs each year on the day before Mother's Day.
My church, a Salvation Army Citadel,
runs a rather large-scale community- and social-services program.
Their program includes food assistance, rent assistance, a community
center for youths, a summer daycamp, holiday-time gift giving, and
much more.

As they are one of the larger community food banks in the immediate
area, much of the food collected by the local post office's letter carriers
comes directly to my church. I have been helping with food intake at the
church for the past six years, and I love it every time.
It's a completely full day of a lot of hard work, and the pace is totally
non-stop for several hours, but you really couldn't ask for more fun while
doing back-breaking work with a group of like-minded and good-hearted people. Very Happy

The Salvation Army has helped me in the past when I needed assistance,
and this is one of the ways I am able to show my appreciation for what
they continually do for so many in need. I am proud to be able to
participate in this and other community-assistance undertakings by
the Salvation Army.

After 9.5 hours, I had had enough; I was completely exhausted.
When I left, we had logged 23.35 Tons of food collected, and a large pickup
truck towing a trailer arrived as I exited the parking lot. That truck/trailer
combo probably added another 2-3 Tons of food to the final count, and there
were still around 2 more hours left for collected food to be brought to
the church.

This series are all from AF lenses, all on AUTO settings, shot to JPG.
There simply isn't enough time to do much with a camera during this
annual event, but I try to get some decent pictures every year.
I honestly couldn't take the time for MF lenses during the organized
chaos, though I wanted to give you all a glimpse into the event:

1. The church building itself. This is one of the more ornate citadels of
the Salvation Army in this region.

The calm before the storm. Wink
This attempts to show all the empty boxes prepared, waiting to be filled
with collected food. This is the only time I'll have for quietly having coffee
and a chat with anyone all day. My day started at around 9:20 AM.
Note the the stacks of unused boxes in the upper right background:
Only a handful of those will remain at the end of the day.




The food begins arriving at a trickle, which quickly becomes a torrent.
A local supermarket provides 15 to 20 of their shopping baskets for our
use, and the post office supplies a digital scale. We zero the scale to an
empty shopping basket. The baskets are filled, then rolled onto the scale
for weigh-in. Each basket is weighed, entered into an Excel spreadsheet.
Cumulative totals are automatically scored as the day progresses.

6. This is Joe with a cart on the scale. The day's early, so there's not much in the cart.
Joe is an exceptional person, who has been helping with this event for
almost as many years as I have been alive.

Each year, the church is generously provided with a storage/shipping
container to house the overflow, since there is only limited space inside
the building. I believe this container to be 30 to 40 feet long; it's roughly
the size of a semi-rig trailer. Of course, it was empty when the day started.

8. The day quickly gives way to organized chaos.



11. A local television news crew sent a van with a videographer, but only a cameraman was on board.

12. I shot him while he shot us. I thought it was only fitting. Wink
Looking closely, you see Canon on his camera grip strap. Yay, Canon! Cool

13. It couldn't happen without cooperation of the USPS.

Hot, exhausted, stiff, weary, and sore, I decided to call it a day.
The shelves inside the building were rather well stocked, but not as they
should be. When the food comes in too heavily for us to be able to sort it
into various categories, all we can do is pack it into boxes as quickly as
possible for storage in that big metal container. Remember that container?
Well, here it is, my last shot of the day, just as I was leaving.

It's always a grueling day, but incredibly rewarding.
If you're so inclined, I recommend volunteering for such events in your
local community. The amount of satisfaction gained is really wonderful,
and you're sure to make some great friends in the process.

Blessings to all.

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good series of docu shots.
The Sally Ann (as it was known in my neck of the woods) is the only religious organisation I'd give the time of day to, being totally non-judgemental, in my experience.

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Farside wrote:
Good series of docu shots.
The Sally Ann (as it was known in my neck of the woods) is the only religious organisation I'd give the time of day to, being totally non-judgemental, in my experience.

We just call them 'The Sal' around here. Wink

But yes, The Sal is a wonderful thing in today's world.

I was not aware, until several years ago, that they are a non-denominational Christian church.
I was always aware of their various community-service efforts, but was
not aware of their position as an international church until some recent
years ago. That's about when I was in need of some assistance, and they
came through for me in an absolutely fantastic fashion.

I simply adore what The Sal stands for and what they do, and I'm always
happy to help their efforts whenever I am able to do so.

Thanks for your positive comments, Dave.
I do a lot with The Sal throughout the year, but this is the one event
where I can wield a camera to decent results.
Should I become more involved with their EDS(Emergency Disaster Services)
division in my area, I will have more pictures to offer.