MLK Day of Service

Tonight is a good night, one of those rare Sunday nights where you have the comfort of knowing you don’t have to go to work the next day.  I had a pretty productive weekend so don’t have a list of things to do tomorrow.  I had heard about mlkday.gov where students and jerk government employees like me who don’t have to work Monday can go and find volunteer projects to do.  I signed up for one for a few hours which will may not make a huge impact in the world other than that of me feeling awesome because I’m serving my community. 

Let me tell you where this all began.  Last week I was walking with my co-worker who is officially cookoo for quilting.  I knew she made a lot of them and had an underground quilting club (actually called a guild) where they go on quilting retreats and who knows what crazy shenanigans ensue.  But apparently she and others have completely saturated themselves their friends and families with quilts but still love to quilt so what did they do?  Started making small quilts to give to Child Protective Services for children who get removed from their homes so they have something soft and warm to snuggle up with.  So far they’ve made like 200 of these. 

The next day she and another co-worker start discussing blood donation, she is almost up to her 9th gallon donated and he went Friday to donate for his 80th time.  For once I’m not speaking in hyperbole, these are actual figures.   She donates work clothing to the YWCA for some program there that gets women off the street and into job interviews and she is actually disappointed that she has never been called upon to donate bone marrow (apparently the hospital has her info on file in case they need some).  Are you starting to feel like a selfish idiot?  I was.    I’m not involved in the community at all, I donate little money to good causes and I usually justify this because I have a job in the helping profession (I help people all day long!  Why would I want to do it in my free time?).  

This system had worked quite well until last week when my co-worker (let’s call her Ned Flanders) gave me huge guilt trip without even trying.  So tomorrow I plan to pack aside my selfish ways and honor MLK by doing the little bitty volunteer job and seeing if I can give a guilt-appeasing pint (or however much they suck out of your veins).   I’ve actually never donated before–I’ve tried but once I was turned away because I traveled abroad, another time because I’d just gotten my ears pierced, and once I had an appointment in the post 9-11 guilt blood donation spree that I cancelled because I was quite sure that I had a serious bleeding disorder that I had just learned about in nursing school.  Later I found out I didn’t, but haven’t been back since.  Tomorrow will be my day.  Or sometime this week.  I heard they have free sandwiches on Thursdays.

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