A Typical Day Of Humanitarian Aid
How do you slow down? Barry and I ask ourselves that question all the time. You see, in our ministry, Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs, the demand for humanitarian aid services is huge in our community. As a result, and with only Barry and I as the only full time volunteers, there is no rest. Yes I said volunteers because there is not enough funds raised for Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs for Barry and I to draw a wage. As you will see in the example below, where do I schedule in more fundraising activities in our already busy day?
Although we try to limit ourselves to working just 6 days a week, it typically is 7 days a week, year round, including major holidays. We’ve even received calls from people in need on Christmas morning. A typical day for us runs into 16 hours with multiple appointments, lots of driving, moving of furniture, and more.
I am usually very exhausted by the time I hit the bedroom by 8:30-9 pm every night. And then because of Barry’s sleep disorder epilepsy, I need to sleep lightly in case he needs my assistance in the early morning hours.
Let’s take a look at a typical day that Barry and I have.
- I got up at 4 am to try and get some office paperwork caught up. Which is never caught up, it seems.
- Barry gets up at 6 am, so I put the coffee on again. I’m now on my second cup.
- Before I can make breakfast, I have to work 20 minutes in the kitchen. Washing, and moving some of the donations received the day before away from the stove.
- Good, a path is cleared. Now I can make some bacon and eggs for breakfast.
- 7:15 am – put a whole chicken in the crock pot. This will be stripped off the bones later and used for making several freezer meals.
- By 7:30 am, Barry and I are on our way to the first appointment to pick up a load of furniture.
- 8 am return home and put this load away.
- Run in the house to use the bathroom, and the answering machine is blinking. Really?!
- Squeeze in a last minute donation pick up across town. The message was from someone moving on Saturday. Our only available time slot was right now!
- Pick up and drop that load of furniture off at home.
- 9 am – coffee break and do internet work on the blog, make appointments, check messages, emails, and more. Put a request out for a Volunteer Virtual Assistant to help with one aspect of online office work.
- 10:30 am – back to the house. Sort donations, answer phone messages, and more.
Time For Lunch
- 11:30 am – eat lunch
- noon – answer several phone calls. Turn the crock pot off, the chicken is now cooked. Need to let it cool a little bit before putting the pot in the fridge until I can find a few minutes to de-bone the chicken.
- 12:30 pm – back in the truck for the next appointment
- 1:30 pm – pop the crock pot liner with the chicken in the fridge. Go to the bank and pay some bills
- 1:45 pm – quick coffee break, check internet messages again. Write a couple more emails. Hire the Volunteer Virtual Assistant—thank you! I need some extra hands for sure.
- 2:30 pm – return home to wait for 3 pm delivery of furniture donations.
- 3:30 pm – have to leave – 3 pm didn’t show up. Now we have to deliver furniture across town for 4 pm. Load the truck and leave.
- 4:15 pm – return home to start dinner.
- 4:20-4:45 pm – Ooops! The 3 pm furniture delivery arrives. They deliver furniture but also get a few things they need too. In the midst of this another family arrives unexpectedly and also needs things. As they all leave, another car slows down and asks about something they want to donate. They say they will drop them off tomorrow. Great. We close up shop and return inside.
- 4:55 pm – I try to start dinner again, but I hear a car door. The person arrives back with the donation today. Talk to her for a few minutes and take the donation to the sorting area inside the house.
Heading Into Evening
- 5 pm – Start dinner again for the 3rd time.
- 5:30 pm – Serving dinner.
- 6 – 7 pm – answer more phone calls between trying to get more office work done
- 7 pm – back in the truck to go and pick up more donations
- 8 pm – return home and put donations away.
- 8:10 pm – Barry relaxes in front of the TV, I try to get more computer work done.
- 9 pm – off to bed. Exhausted. Never got that chicken stripped off the bones and freezer meals assembled—hopefully tomorrow. Before breakfast? We’ll see.
That Was A Typical Day
This is just a typical day for Barry and I at Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs. There are days when there are more families in need coming through and less donations being picked up. However, typically 20 truckloads of furniture are moved in and out of our home every week. Over 2,000 families are assisted annually.
No wonder Barry and I are stressed out. There are not enough hours in a day or hands available to help with all of the work. And no pay check either. We run at this pace 6 days a week.
When Do We Rest?
I ask myself the same question. We try to take Sundays off, however, the needs of the community don’t stop just because Barry and I are tired. Even when we try to hide by not answering the phone and locking the door, people still find us.
And going out of town is not an option—I’m the driver, and that is not restful for me. I want to sit down and unwind. Not drive and be a tourist somewhere.
So, even on Sundays, it is hard to get any time off.
- Donations of items still show up,
- people arrive from out of town needing items,
- the phone still keeps ringing,
- and more.
I try to use Sundays to get caught up on photocopying and assembling Cookbooks, brochures, and the multitude of other office duties that need to be attended to.
It is no wonder that Barry and I are stressed to the max.
Where Are The Finances?
Did you notice that not a single source of financial income came in that day?
Nope. Just money having to go out and pay bills. But no income coming in.
However, even despite everything and the great personal financial sacrifice that we have made to help the community by not being able to have a wage—we would do this 20 times or more over. Because we’ve seen lives changed!
We’ve witnessed people being EMPOWERED towards a HOPE and a FUTURE.
And People Question Why We Need To Raise Personal Money
After sharing our hectic typical day with others, we are still questioned and scrutinized as to why some friends are raising GoFundMe funds for Barry and I. We have been told that our financial struggles are of our own choosing and therefore, why should anyone help us.
Yes, in part, that is true.
But if you see a hurting animal, do you not go and try and give comfort and take to a vet or an animal shelter for additional care?
Well, we see humankind in an even greater way than that. Doesn’t the ordinary people in your own community deserve even more compassion, understanding, and assistance? Barry and I believe so.
I’ve given away shoes and boots that have been donated, that I needed personally because of the holes in my own. However, someone will come in and I notice that their footwear has even more holes than mine. So I give them the shoes and boots instead of keeping them.
That is just the kind of hearts Barry and I have. We tend to put the needs of others ahead of our own.
We Need “Faith Partners”
Barry and I understand that not everyone is capable of assisting us with all of the heavy lifting that we do daily. Nor can someone stand at the sink for 4 hours or more washing dishes. We understand that many people are also struggling financially.
However, in an effort to improve the finances of Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs so that both:
- Barry and I can eventually draw a modest wage
- and look to expanding services to the community even more
we are looking for “Faith Partners” to come along side us.
There is no need for sacrificial giving either. If the following or similar scenarios could occur:
- 200 people donating $5 a month faithfully
- or 100 people donating $10 a month
- or even 50 people donating $20 a month
then that extra $1,000/month would help greatly. You see, Barry and I, although desiring some funds for our own living expenses, are not greedy. Nor do we desire to live an extravagant lifestyle. However, we do desire to be able to pay the bare basics of bills.
Yes, even just an additional $1,000/month would help shed some light on the financial picture of both Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs and for Barry and I.
In the coming months, a recurring automatic payment system and membership area for “Faith Partners” of Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs will be set up. As soon as I can find the time to finish setting it up. In the meantime, don’t forget that you can donate today to make a difference, right here on our website at this link: