Coming into this job on the second day of November, I can’t say I knew what to expect. Samantha had told me I was being brought in to help with a particularly busy season due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew, and that we had 5 shipments going out before the end of November. Now to me, a recent graduate who had never moved anything other than my stuff to and from university, the shipments didn’t mean much. Then, for perspective, she told me that we normally send out between 5 and 10 shipment containers a year. So, you could say that 5 over 14 days would be just a little busy..
And Day 1’s workload did not disappoint. I arrived Wednesday morning, a little groggy from having to get up at a scheduled hour for the first time in a while, but ready for whatever Sam was going to give me. The first few hours were a bit of a whirlwind, as I tried to catch on to the who, what, when, where and why’s of FFPC. I asked question after question and tried to keep it all straight – what’s a DCI? (Detailed Commercial Invoice), who’s Jim? (Our shipper), when is our first container of the month going out? (November 9), where is it going? (Haiti), why won’t excel save my spreadsheet as a PDF? (I still don’t know). But Sam was patient and answered everything without any sign of annoyance, even when I had to ask her how to use the excel shortcuts (I’m the millennial, aren’t I supposed to be the one who’s good with technology?) Then, Sam turned to me and said, “You’re free to go, it’s 5pm.” It felt like I looked up for the first time that day to realize it was already night time.
On Day 2 I woke up looking forward to coming in, which, given how my friends had been talking about the “real world”, was not something I expected. Granted, it was only my second day of waking up “early”, but I can honestly say that a few weeks in, I still look forward to getting up for work. Maybe not the “having to leave my cozy bed on a cold windy day” part, but the work is still just as exciting and diverse, the people continue to be great company, and there’s always something new for me to learn or work on (like this blog post!)
Since then, in the 3 weeks that I’ve been working here, I’ve helped load one of our containers that carried 29,065 lbs of dried goods to feed the hungry in Haiti, generously donated by Ontario Christian Gleaners. I’ve also been able to go to Haiti through our partnership with Air Transat. With the flight, we delivered a donation of medical supplies from Health Partners International of Canada, and brought 2.8 million water purification tablets to help fight the effects of cholera, which we were able to purchase thanks to donations from Canadians. I’ve been interviewed in French to talk about Food For The Poor Canada on national television, I’ve attended Webinars that help non-profits maximize their advertising budgets and opportunities, and most importantly I’ve met wonderful people with big hearts who want to help those in need.
Although it hasn’t been a long experience yet, it has definitely been a meaningful one, and I can honestly say that when working for a non-profit, you learn to see the glass as half full. Even though you witness the suffering of those less fortunate, you also see the generosity of spirit and sense of community when people come together to help. I’m looking forward to the rush of the holiday season, to continuing to learn technical skills but also more personal ones, and to seeing the best in people during this most wonderful time of the year.
- On November 24, 2016