First we went to the local YWCA in Manchester and started out the morning by scraping broken plaster off the walls in two office rooms. Thanks to two of our members, Elaine Hamel and Patricia Stagno, we had the right equipment and safety gear for the job. I provided the music and then Catherine Schonenberger and I started scraping away. All four of us did the mudding, although I must say there were clearly some experienced mudders amongst us and it wasn't me. Elaine is fantastic about teaching others to learn new skills and have the confidence in ourselves to try something new, which is why her Girls at Work Inc., program is so successful. We only had a three hour time slot for this morning volunteer job and our first coat needed to dry, so Patty came back the following day and added several more mudding layers. Thanks Patty! Elaine and Patty plan to go back on Friday and do any final finish work. It was fun to help improve the facility at which local women, children and families can come for support services and programs.
NH Food Bank
After a quick bite to eat we headed over to the NH Food Bank where we met up with two more NAWIC Members, Katie Miskoe and Peggy DeWever. Our task was to sort through a recent donation from CVS Pharmacy of various cosmetics. We organized an entire pallet of boxed cosmetic supplies and then created individual bags, which will be distributed to local Women's Shelters. It was great knowing that the NH Food Bank not only distributes an astounding 8.5 million pounds of donated, surplus food to over 400 locations/programs in NH, but they also distribute other needed items like household supplies and cosmetics. The women who will benefit from these cosmetic supplies, may be going through a very difficult time in their lives, but they deserve to look and feel beautiful, and our NH NAWIC Chapter was able to lend a helping hand.
We were given a tour of the new 60,000 SF facility, after we filled a large pallet with the individual cosmetics bags. There was tons of space and shelving, whether it be dry, refrigerated or freezer space, for all the large donations that come in (see diagram below). Over 143,000 men, women and children benefit from the food that is donated and distributed by the NH Food Bank. The newly constructed commercial kitchen was beautiful and is used for several programs at NH food Bank such as the Culinary Job Training Program. At the end of our tour we sat down with Executive Director Mel Gosselin, who told us the history of the NH Food Bank and about the most recent "Nothing" campaign. We completed the night with a dinner meeting at the Puritain Backroom in Hooksett, NH.
On Tuesday afternoon five NAWIC Members (Karen Long, Catherine, Elaine, Kathy and myself) went to the Concord YMCA to build wood storage shelving units. We worked together as a team to build the 8 foot tall shelves that fit a small storage room. Kathy's two sons joined us and helped build the shelving units. The YWCA bought us all pizza and we ate and worked for several hours. While we did not finish the project, due to time limitations, we were able to build the framework and several of the shelves which was a great start. The YMCA was very happy with our efforts and willingness to volunteer and said they will finish the project at a later date. We were also able to get a tour of the facility which was great.
I was also fortunate enough to be able to speak to over 100 students at two different high schools within the last week (see previous post) to celebrate both National Engineers Week and also WIC Week since my career as a Town Engineer is a combination of engineering and construction! It was great to share my experiences, struggles and accomplishments with these students. I hope to be doing job shadow days with 2 or 3 of them in the near future who came and spoke to me after the presentation.
Overall a great celebration of WIC Week! Thanks to all the NAWIC NH Members that volunteered! Our chapter is looking forward to other volunteer activities later in the year that will help build teamwork, relationships and allow us to give back to the community!