Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogging from NYC, Day 1

First of all, let me say that I have never had a particularly good sense of direction.  Despite this, I have learned to navigate public transportation in two major American cities to the point that I could provide directions to out-of-towners without having to stop and think.  Today proved that I have been out of the city for far too long.  The trip that should have taken 30 minutes ended up taking 90.  And I take full responsibility.  I relied far too heavily on technology that, in my particular situation, does not work underground. And I should know better.  I am married to a man who will memorize all of the particulars of a subway system before ever walking out the door.  But I failed.  Admittedly, the newsstand man was partly to blame.  He did provide abjectly wrong directions, but I shouldn't have had to ask in the first place.

We arrived 30 minutes late, but all was not lost.  The other group serving this week was already there and orientation had begun, but there were still plenty of bagels.  God is good.

After learning about YSOP, about the week, and about our assignments for the day, we were ready to go.  Team A, the team I am leading, headed downtown to Baby Buggy.  The address didn't mean much to us when we first saw it, but when we got off at Times Square and walked through the Fashion District, we were pretty excited.  Baby Buggy is located on the eighth floor of a relatively nondescript building.  They don't provide direct service, so it's pretty much a storage area.  Baby Buggy was started by Jessica Seinfeld and is essentially a clearinghouse for corporate donations of baby clothes and gear to go to service agencies that help families in need.

We started out by patching clothes.  When places like Children's Place donate clothes, they mark them with a small cut or notch to prevent resale.  So, armed with irons, clothes, and Bondex, we repaired two bins full of clothes and sorted them.  Then we started uncrating baby supplies and separating them into bins so that volunteers could bundle them and send them out.  Agencies served by Baby Buggy put in orders at the beginning of the month, letting Baby Buggy know what they will need for their clients.  Then volunteers get those orders together to be shipped out.  We were impressed to learn that the sippy cups we were sorting would be in the home of a family by next week.

We were impressively efficient, and our volunteer coordinator let us go early.  We made a few stops on the way back to YSOP, and were thrilled to find warm nachos and salsa waiting for us when we got back.

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