By David Devlin
“What is today going to bring?” is a question I ask myself almost every day on my walk to the office in the morning. One of my favorite and least favorite things about my position as the pantry coordinator is that each day can look different. On multiple occasions have I come into the office with ideas about what I want to get done and then all of a sudden, next thing I know, I’m fixing a door, picking up toys in downtown Cincinnati, picking up 3 pallets of donated lettuce, or some other random odd job like that. At this point I’ve tried to stop planning out my day thoroughly because I’m sure something will come in and get me off of the task I’m working on, but instead just revel in the mystery that is my position sometimes. But in a way I depend on that. It’s that kind of randomness that helps me stay out of a rut and to stay on my toes and to avoid complacency in the work place. But the more regularly scheduled parts of my day including assisting managing the pantry and with the bed program. That includes helping to manage volunteers on days the pantry is open and on off days I help manage the logistics of pickups and storage for food that is purchased and donated.
But aside from the work that I’m doing and what that’s teaching me I’ve really learned a lot just from talking to people I encounter in the pantry. Back in the first half of my year, I was talking with someone who was going through the pantry and they said something along the lines of, “Man, I really appreciate what y’all are doing here. I ain’t got nothing at home right now. I got no food.” That conversation hit me pretty hard. I remember thinking that a day or two before I was looking in the fridge at our house trying to find dinner and I thought, “Man, there’s nothing to eat in this house.” But as soon as I finished saying that I pulled something out at ate dinner. Yeah it wasn’t a four-course, five-star meal but it gave me the energy I needed at the time. After that experience, I’ve been careful to complain about the amount of food that I have access to. I’ve never had to worry about when the next time to eat was going to be. I’ve always been able to eat when I needed to and I think that simple necessity is very easy to overlook.
Living in community has surrounded me with other people my age who are interested in change. A positive experience I’ve had recently was when we were discussing little ways to save water and be more conscious of our consumption of resources. As we were talking someone had mentioned a small action they noticed someone else doing. This was proof of a ripple effect that occurs when are do work for positive change. I’ve often got caught up in the overwhelming thought that I am just one person so it is not possible for me to encourage change. All it takes is one small action that someone else notices and then they practice and then someone else notices and now this small change you made is being carried on.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. I think it’s important to remember that. Change can happen when we do little things with a positive impact and someone else notices but also, when we notice things that others do and put that into our daily lives.