Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

A different work day

So today instead of going to work, I had the opportunity to volunteer with my team at the CP24 Chum Christmas Wish.   This is the same charity we used to collect toys for when I had GRS, and it was definitely a fun deviation from my usual day.

I was volunteering in the warehouse.  There were rows of boxes that were all labeled by age and gender (boys 3-5, girls 14-18, etc), with a few other misc areas (stuffed toys, board games, sport equipment, stocking stuffers, and summer).   While I definitely have some issues with the separating of toys by gender (does this STEM kit belong in boys or girls?  hmmmm) I do understand why they're doing it, as esp with the younger kids there is distinct branding targeting one or the other.

So the first job was to put philosophical moral objections aside and sort the presents.   So a truck had recently been unloaded and we got to take the toys and find them the appropriate bucket.  I found this far more entertaining than you might imagine because of the sheer variety of things.

Then we went "shopping" -- in that we (in pairs) would be given a group to collect toys for (eg,  8 boys, age 7) and go pick one thing for each of those 8 boys.  Since we know nothing about the recipients other than gender and age, it's impossible to make an informed decision.  At first it was really easy - find something that's Just. Plain. Cool. and pick that.   They had some things to keep in mind -- like most of the recipients won't have cell phones or computers, so if you come across something that requires one of those, it went in a different area.   And if you picked a board game, pick something else that can be enjoyed individually because not everybody has someone to play games with.  It definitely helps draw attention to all the things so many of us take for granted.

Michalina and I did one amazing bag for a group of I think about 14yo boys that had just all the good stuff (including a ball hockey stick and ball).   But as we got more into it, it became increasingly challenging because the boxes became sorely depleted :(.   I had one go for 14yo girls, and they have a rule for no makeup under the age of 16.  By then the 9-13 box was empty and the 14-18 box was all makeup.  It was a real challenge that Nicole and I put a whole lot of effort into solving.   Some of our team have done this multiple years, and there were a lot comments about how depleted the supply was comparatively :(.  So that was sad to see.  Conversely, some of the gifts were amazing.  There were some great things in there of really good quality and creativity.

So yeah, overall it was a great experience and I'd certainly do it again.


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