shayne and i just did our annual volunteering for the Walk for Hunger. she and i have done this together most years for the past six years or so. our old company used to organize troops to help marshall crowds and direct walkers through busy intersections. while most of us no longer work for the company (and in fact, tend to call ourselves "survivors" of the place), we still show up year after year, to hold the same signs, and stand on the same corners, to help out.
and eat snacks.
one of the great ironies of this gig is that they pack up snack bags. free chips and drinks and coffee and doughnuts and candy bars. so while other people are trudging 20 miles to stamp out hunger, we lollygag, smoke cigarettes, eat free snacks. i felt a little guilty about the whole thing.
do i still feel like what i did contributed? sure. in that old lady sort of way. i dread becoming one of those people who no longer gives their time or energy, just their money. although that's valid, too.
helping out comes in many forms, and i was raised to raise my voice for what i believe in. when i was younger, i donated blood and marched on washington. i went to peace vigils and took back the night. i once even went so far as to lash myself to a trident nuclear submarine. i spent four years donating my time as a rape counselor, being on call for the hospitals for victims of sexual assault. i saw the worst that the world had to offer. and yes, when i was a teenager i even actually walked the Walk for Hunger.
and i just realized that i trudged those 20 miles, back in 1987, eating snacks, drinking coffee, and smoking cigarettes.
maybe i really haven't changed that much at all.