Yes, it was a horrible day yesterday.
I was grouchy. I didn't feel like working at the Clothes Closet. I had one load of laundered donated clothes in the dryer that I just left there. I felt guilty about not folding it and taking it in. I still have about 3 more loads of laundry to do, but I didn't and still don't feel like doing it. I feel guilty about that, too.
We had 42 people come into the Clothes Closet yesterday, almost double the daily number we usually serve. Loma and I were busy with a capital B. And, for the first time since we opened, I felt the need to step in and stop one woman from taking too many things. She had pulled about 30 items off the racks and was still going when I stood next to her, and in my worst Spanish ever (she could not speak much English), I said, "No más. Para los demás," roughly translated means "No more. For others" (I didn't know the correct phrasing for "leave for others"). It was very awkward. But she understood, handed me what she had selected, I put it in bags and she left.
I felt awful that I felt I had to intervene and it bothered me all day. I even woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it, even after Tom and I talked a little about it when he got home. I still have questions swirling around in my head this morning. How do we know when someone is taking advantage? How far do we go to intervene? How often should folks be allowed to shop? Weekly? Monthly? Should we have rules or definite limits? Where is the line between being a good steward and an unconditional giver?
I've been doing some research on other community Clothes Closets and their operations. Lord help me and those around me, because as a result of all that voluminous information, my internal consultant/organizer/manager-type is seeping out through my pores. I'm envisioning a mission statement, guidelines for distribution and limitations of items, written exceptions, a website or page which provides all of the aforementioned in addition to hours of operation, how and where to donate, a flyer to provide to businesses and community organizations with our information and possibly solicit donation drop-off sites....you get my drift. My head is out of control.
Anyway, on my To Do List today and for the upcoming week:
- Organize the office that I have neglected for over a week
- Close out the bookkeeping year and make new folders for the new year
- Fold the donated clothes in the dryer and finish washing, drying and folding the remaining loads
- Oh yeah, and how about do my own laundry
- Get back to working on the cookbook of my late mother-in-law's recipes in the hopes of finishing it up next week
- Somewhere in the middle of all that, vacuum and dust and make a loaf of that black bread I've been wanting to try
Not particularly monumental tasks. The issue will be merely staying focused and you know how simply wonderful I am at that.