Saturday, December 29, 2012

Non-Profit Love

... Or How I Become a Envelope Sealing Expert

Thursday I went back to Habitat after the break for the holidays. Therefore I'm finishing/posting an old post about my dear non-profit-job. The grown-up-ish of my current two jobs is working part-time at Habitat for Humanity MoCo as the person who organizes all the Faith Team Builds and whatnot. It's fun.  Plus I get to sit at a desk = both fun-ish and grown-up. 

In addition to sending out copious amounts of emails, I also man a table at volunteer fairs and help at events. I've wrapped presents at a Barnes and Noble, bar-tended at the 30 anniversary event, attended college volunteer fairs, and gone to a children's mitzvah fair. A few weeks back I spent a couple of days working on a mailing with my boss and volunteers from Riderwood. [Riderwood is a retiree's utopia: huge campus of building with every level of assisted living, any club you could imagine, groups out the wazoo, shuttles to stores, and pretty much anything cool you could think up.]
They have a Friends of Habitat group to help us out with mailings. Mailings are huge at a non-profit. There is many a debate about when mailings should go out, and to who (or possibly to whom, I have no idea), and what should be in said mailings, and how said mailing should look. Much like the world of retail, non-profits take in most of their money in November/ December when generous-holiday-feelings meet end-o'-the-year-tax-stuff. 

Therefore this November we sent out 15,000 dark blue envelopes. Turns out that 15,000 is a really big number. It is a lot of envelopes to stick address labels on, and a lot of envelopes to stuff with awesome "Meet a Habitat family" brochures, and it is ton of envelopes to seal. So it was wonderful to have the company of so many awesome people.
Some -- but not all -- o' the boxes o' envelopes 
Some --but not all-- of our
A good number of the Riderwood Friends of Habitat group were of the Rosie-the-Riveter-generation. As we filled envelopes / put on address stickers, more than one commented on how it was like piece work in a factory. I loved all their interesting lives and great stories. One lady I sat next to spent the summer after high-school stuffing envelopes and all for a local business, she saved all of her pay and went to New York City with classmates and their voice teacher for two weeks at the end of the summer, exploring the city each day and seeing shows almost every night. 

After about the 50 begillionth envelope it all starts to take a toll on your envelope-sealing-muscles, but all of the retirees were champs and a humongous help. The dear lady who organized the group is married to wonderful man who sadly has Alzheimer's, yet he is a gentleman through-and-through and a real charmer to boot. Anytime he saw me carrying anything he'd offer to help and when we sat down on a bench to wait for the car to load he looked over a joked "Do I even get to hold your hand?"

Everyone I met was an honest-to-goodness pleasure. One of them showed me the trick of how-to-most-quickly-seal-envelopes: open and set four or five on top of each other, fish-scale-style with the sealy-flaps showing, then you can swipe them all with a little piece of sponge at the same time. These people are brilliant. One lady leaned over after hours of sealing envelopes yesterday and said "I bet that Habitat Build in Romania was more fun than this". Which on the one hand was true, in Romania I got to be up there hammering in the beams for the roof, while balancing on beams I nailed in myself -- what could be more fun than that? But the best memories I have of the build in Romania are how great the people were: the gypsy kids playing duck-duck-goose with us on our lunch break, or the half English/half Romanian jokes while we worked. Meeting people then sharing stories and laughs is the best. I sincerely enjoyed the oh-so-glamorous days and days of getting all 15,000 envelopes ready to mail, because the people and their stories and their laughter were beyond enjoyable. Plus I'm not-overly-confident I could put up  another terracotta-Romanian-roof, but if you are even planning on sending out more than ten thousand cards, you know who to call -- I'm an envelope sealing expert.

1 comment:

  1. aww, sounds like the seniors had some awesome stories. I want to hear more about Habitat and having a grown up desk job and whatnot :)