When my company started furloughs in February, a coworker suggested we make something good come of a bad situation by finding a volunteer opportunity during that time. I’d been wanting to check out what Neighbors was all about because our church is a big supporter, and I had “volunteer at a food shelf” on my 30b430 list.

So I went Feb. 27, while I was home alone and on furlough, to meet with the volunteer manager. He said they didn’t need food shelf volunteers because that is where most people need to work. They were in need of people for the Clothes Closet, which had just extended it’s Saturday hours. And it would be a place I could bring the children along if I ever need to. So I’m counting this on my list even though I didn’t get to work in the food shelf. I at least got to see how it works during my meeting/tour, and I am helping the food shelf because the money the Clothes Closet makes goes to support the food shelf and Neighbors’ other services.

I did my first three-hour shift Feb. 28, working the checkout. It was kind of boring but we had a steady stream of customers. I completely forgot my second shift, which should have been March 28.

Today, I went in with Grace. She and Daddy had a rough night last night so I thought they could use a break from each other and I wanted to share something special with her. So I worked in the back sorting donations, while she sat nearby playing with the toys she brought along. After about two hours she got bored, and I read her a book and then she flipped through some of the books the store had for sale. Then she went back to playing with her toys (and some new ones that another volunteer fished out of the donation bags and gave her). She even helped me fill up the men’s shoe rack out in the storefront.

I was very proud of my little girl, who seems to be growing up very quickly lately.