Project Advent, Day 12: Red Cross


It's really gratifying, as a blogger, to have moments when you find out that what you are writing is reaching people.  I have friends who I know are reading, but it's especially exciting to find out that you're being read by people outside of that circle.  Yesterday, I felt lousy.  I took the kids out to lunch at Dickey's, where kids eat free on Sundays, so that I wouldn't have to cook anything, and so they'd be out of the house and let Courtney get to sleep, since she had to work last night.  While I was there, I had two very cool encounters.

The first was with a friend who I very seldom see in real life anymore, but who was there with her family.  I'd only posted my blog entry about two hours before, but she'd already seen it, and told me that she hoped I'd feel better soon.  Thanks, Melissa!

The second was as I was getting the kids seated at our table.  From the next table over, I heard a man quietly tell his wife, "That's the guy I was telling you about, with the Advent blog."  I took a sneak peek a minute later, and it was a man I'd never seen before.  Thanks for reading, friend!

I actually had something else lined up for today, but then it fell through over the weekend.  Although there are lots of deserving organizations to volunteer for, many of them require a background check or some training, two things that I didn't have time for if I was going to line something up in time for today!  Writing another check wasn't an option, either, because I'm a little busted until payday on Thursday.  I put out a call for help on Facebook, and quickly got this response from Lauren, a friend from high school:
My husband is the chairman of the board of the Red Cross. That's right, I am bragging. He said to call Molly. She can hook you up. You can tell her Bill said to call.
That's just what I did!  I called Molly this morning, dropped Bill's name, and visited the Lubbock office of the Red Cross today during my lunchtime.

I don't know if the Red Cross has done this in the past, but they have a really neat program this year.  As a gift in a loved one's honor, you can choose from a whole range of needed services that your money will sponsor, from a care kit for a wounded veteran, to a day of hot meals from the disaster relief truck, or blankets for disaster survivors.  There is a website where you can learn more, or purchase gifts, but there's also a printed catalog that the Red Cross office had a box full of.  What they needed help with was addressing these catalogs for delivery to members of their board, and to some of their larger donors.  Molly set me up with a list, a box of mailing labels, and a pen, and set me to work.  It was a pretty long list, but I had just enough time to handwrite each label and then stick them all to catalogs before I had to go.  There were actually quite a few names on that list of people I know, so if you get information from Red Cross in the next few days, and it has a really horribly hand-lettered label on it, chances are I wrote it.

Now, I've taken a "mine is not to question why" approach to any tasks I've been given at the sites where I'm volunteering, but today's experience did give me an idea for a follow-up project.  When Project Advent is finished, I think I'll visit the Red Cross again and show them how to do a mail merge from Word!

Twelve days down, twelve to go...

Gratitude Project: From 1 John 3:1, "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God."
Have you thought of what a gift that is?  And we can approach Him in prayer whenever we wish to, and avail ourselves of his endless forgiveness.  That's what I'm thankful for today.


Agoodmanmedina said...

I was about to comment: has your handwriting improved since jr high?? ;) But service is service!

Danny Holwerda said...

Thanks, Bill, and thanks very much again for helping me to set that up!  I hope I didn't sound like too much of a techno-snob there.  You're right - there's something about getting a hand-labeled piece of mail that makes you far more likely to read it.

Danny Holwerda said...

I like to think it is but one of the many things about me that's improved since junior high.

Bill Curnow said...

For the record, the American Red Cross does require background checks for all employees and volunteers if they will come in contact with our clients or with money.  Volunteers serve at all levels, and positions, within the Red Cross so in Danny's case a background check wasn't required.  However, he does know my wife so one might have been warranted in this case ;)

bill Curnow said...

Oh I'm a huge techno-snob so I know where you're coming from.  One of my IT specialties is process automation so you can imagine my pain when I see some of the things we do at the ARC.  Leveraging technology properly can make a real difference, especially with a small staff, but there comes a point when finding the time to implement the changes and train on them becomes a real challenge.

Ali said...

yeah. you didn't do the background check because you "didn't have time." (there you go. my Christmas "smart ass" gift to you. xoxo)

Bill Curnow said...

Danny, I'm right there with you on mail merge (and they could use a quick tutorial). The local Red Cross is actually in the process of migrating our donor management to SalesForce, but even when that's complete some things will still be hand addressed. Technology can be a wonderful thing but sometimes you just can't beat the human touch.

As a fellow volunteer thank you for your service to the American Red Cross. It was greatly appreciated.

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