For the past six years, I have volunteered for the Center for People in Need in a collaborative effort with Food Bank of Lincoln and Malone Community Center. The Food Bank delivers food items to the Malone, and we distribute them.

Working as a Volunteer with My Grandkids

A volunteer’s task is to unload the Food Bank truck, set up the assorted food items on tables, distribute the items, replenish the food as needed and return any undistributed materials to the Food Bank truck. It’s amazing to witness the nonprofit organizations working so efficiently in Lincoln. It brings a smile to my face.

I work with a great group of volunteers. Over the years, we’ve gotten our routine down to a science. Who sets up the tables, who helps unload the pallets of food, who arranges the food on the tables and who assists the people. We pride ourselves on being a well-oiled machine.

During the summer months, volunteers are more apt to be on vacation, so we frequently find ourselves in need of additional help. Occasionally, one or all of my grandkids will help out, and their support is always greatly appreciated. There have been times when we’ve laughed, times when we were sad, and times when we were really hot and tired. It’s always a great learning experience for all of us.

Chicken Paws

There was one time when one of my grandkids was helping at the frozen meat table. One of the offerings was chicken paws. Not feet, but paws. She couldn’t get over the thought of anyone eating them.

“Where’s the meat? How do people eat those things?”

Upon hearing the questions, one of the people we were helping informed her the paws were boiled in water to create a broth. My granddaughter thanked the person. She was a tad embarrassed and grateful she’s never had to eat chicken paws.

The Regular

There was another time when I hadn’t seen one of our regulars for about a month. You tend to worry about things like this. Granted, individuals move or make other arrangements.

This regular finally showed up, and we were thrilled to see him. He went on to explain the reason for his absence. The toes on his right foot had been amputated.

I had two grandkids with me at the time, and they didn’t quite know what to do or say. I talked briefly to the regular, and he reassured all of us he was doing fine. It was another good learning experience for my grandkids.

They’ve heard about toes being surgically removed because of diabetes, but hearing the story first-hand was amazing. Perhaps the explanation was a bit more graphic than necessary, but my grandkids were spellbound. Just when you think you’re having a bad day, you hear what a really bad day sounds like.

Speaking Spanish

All four of my grandkids are taking Spanish. They think they’re pretty darn good and will frequently have conversations together in my presence. At the Malone, we serve families from all over the world. Sometimes, their use of the English language is limited, but we all manage to get through the process and achieve our goal.

Imagine my grandkids’ surprise when someone started a conversation with them in Spanish! It was as though their tongues were tied and all the classes they had taken were forgotten in a minute. Silence, then a couple of words, then a sentence. Everyone had a great laugh over the conversation attempt.

The debriefing session at the end of day was interesting.

“I probably don’t know Spanish as well as I should know it.”

“I can see how difficult it must be for the immigrants to learn English!”

What We’ve Learned

There’s great appreciation and admiration on both sides of the tables. Hopefully, my grandkids are seeing that other people’s life experiences can be the best classroom ever. If they, in fact, learn something from our days serving at the Malone, I will consider it one of my greatest gifts to them.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

Volunteer for the Center for People in Need

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Volunteer for the Malone Community Center

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Volunteer for the Food Bank of Lincoln

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