I am posting sections of chapter six of my book, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. I wrote the book to teach people who lead volunteers to do good work in your community.
This is section nine and is a chance for you, my blog readers, to enjoy a section of the book for free.
DELIVERING THE FOOD
Your hard work is coming to a close when volunteers are able to deliver food to those families who desperately need it. This is where all the magic happens.
It probably would be good to have much of the material in this section placed on a handout, but I never actually was able to find the time to make it happen. So I simply share this information with volunteers verbally.
These are the things I share with the volunteers as I give them their maps to take the food to the families.
- I give them a map with five addresses on it making sure it’s a part of town they feel comfortable driving to because it’s not smart to send three teenage girls to a questionable or unfamiliar part of town.
- When the volunteers arrive at the home, they knock on the door and tell the family they have some food for them for Thanksgiving. Some of the families we serve know the food is coming, so they will not be surprised to see it. But other families might not know the food is coming (if someone signed them up for a basket anonymously), and these families are often shocked when they see volunteers holding a bunch of food for them.
- If the volunteers arrive at the home and no one is there, I tell them to deliver food to the other addresses on their map and return back to that home at the end. If there still is no one home, the volunteers have several options: they can bring the food back to me at the church, they can call the family or they can leave the food on the doorstep if it looks like the family will be returning home soon.
- Upon arrival at the home, volunteers can offer to carry the food inside or they can give it to the family on the doorstep.
- Volunteers also have the option of sitting down with the families to talk with them, or they can give them the food, say a quick, “Happy Thanksgiving,” and leave the family with gratitude and amazement. Sometimes volunteers want to hang out with the families to talk with them and listen to their story; this is okay. Volunteers ask questions about their lives, where they were, and why. Some volunteers offer to pray with the families too. My preference when I deliver the food is to just say I am the delivery man. I don’t say I am with A Day of Hope, a church, or with a group. I just say that I heard from a friend that they are in need of some food for Thanksgiving and I am there to give them a little help. I hand them the food and say, “Enjoy your Thanksgiving” with a smile as I walk away!
- Some of the members of Enclave Community Church who volunteer invite the families to church that evening. A surprising amount of them actually attend.
Question: Do you have any ideas on how best to deliver food to people in need?