Thursday, December 18, 2014

Volunteer Appreciation Lunch Gone Awry ~ 12/17/14

Yesterday we held our Volunteer Appreciation Lunch at work, which we host about three times a year for our 60 or so active volunteers. We try to find local churches to provide the food rather than following our initial practice of ordering in pizzas, and it's been an improvement.
The church that provided last year's Christmas lunch called and offered to do the same this year, so great! The lunch was scheduled, invites were sent out to our volunteers, and we were good to go. Almost. The afternoon before the event, I received a desperate email from the church asking me to send volunteers to help them prepare the food and to be food-runners between their kitchen and our location. So let me just clarify here: you want our volunteers to help prepare and deliver the food that you/we are offering to them in thanks for being volunteers. Right. I gamely/embarrassedly sent out an email addressing the situation and one volunteer did offer to help.

So that morning I arrived at work and had two messages to call the church. Not a good sign. The woman in the kitchen is still looking for help but asks me to pickup the punch and hors d'oeuvres at 11:30 and come back a few minutes later for the rest of the food. I grabbed some co-workers, walked in the door at 11:30, found our way to the kitchen by the wafting good smells, and discovered four hard-working women. They had a cart partly loaded with food and beverages, and we waited about 10 more minutes for one of the appetizers. Off we went but not before the woman tells us to not come back before 12:15. Uh, the lunch is scheduled for 12 noon (we close to the public from 12-1). What could we do? Not much at that point. We delivered and set up what we had.
Two other co-workers left shortly after 12 to pick up the rest of our lunch. A text received from them shortly thereafter: "They are still cooking?!" Twelve thirty rolled by and still no food. Finally at 12:45 they returned but with a pre-warning text that the turkey wasn't finished cooking so not to serve it (it was put in frozen at 9:30 am and they didn't have a meat thermometer). Crikey! We put out everything else and what we had was good.
There was only one ungrateful invitee who didn't appreciate the vegetarian repast and made sure everyone knew of his unhappiness, but everyone else enjoyed what was there. With just 15 minutes left before we opened our doors, everyone took their fill and then some. We then opened the doors to everyone and the food was gone in less than an hour. So here we are, making the best of the situation, still enjoying each other's company, and making mental notes for what not to do next year :-)

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