Food cupboard distribution days are always busy - and loud! Sitting in my office, which adjoins the space in which the Dover Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard operates, I hear the murmur of volunteers chatting with customers, warehouse carts rolling down the hallway, doors being opened and closed, and the thump of boxes as shelves are stocked and restocked. Behind me, the cars on the gravel herald the folks who are coming to pick up food, filled shopping carts rattle across the parking lot, and trunks slam shut as people get ready to head back home. I can hear laughter through the window as volunteers and customers part ways for the day. The whole space comes alive with all the activity. The energy is palpable and pulses right through my office walls.
Today, the last distribution before Christmas, the atmosphere here was even more vibrant as the regular sounds of the day were interwoven with the vibrations of people invigorated by holiday spirit. One volunteer sang carols as he walked around the room. The table in the break-room that often has a pot of coffee brewing and a box of donut holes was covered with homemade cookies and cakes and holiday cards waiting to be exchanged. Wishes of "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas" rang in the air. Small gifts were given between the people who have become friends by sharing this space together as helpers, givers, and those who need help. Colored lights twinkle in the entryway and down the stairs and entry ramp.
Now, the building is completely silent except for the sound of the heat pump fan blowing in the room next to me and Holly tinkling away on her keyboard as she finishes up her day's work. The distribution is over, the volunteers and customers are all gone. We won't see each other again until after Christmas. But the spirit of community and caring lingers -- the spirit of Christmas -- as it does after every distribution. It's easy to think of food cupboards as places of sadness and hardship, but it's important to know that they can also be places of great joy, kinship, and warmth.Today was a Christmassy day at PRFC -- or what I really I should say is it was an extra-Christmassy day.