Last night something special happened in the MFTA warehouse after we closed for the day. Bins half-full were emptied only to be refilled anew; shelves were cleared and restocked with household and craft items; fabric was gathered up to be folded and displayed on shelves; and after so much and more, the floors were swept of any remaining debris.
When the staff arrived in the morning, they found the front of the warehouse better organized and with even more room for the new donations that have been pouring in over the last few weeks. How is it that such a dramatic change can take place within 2 hours of volunteerism every month? In short: New York Cares.
Every month, a team of volunteers from New York Cares blows through our warehouse in a frenzy of activity. First Wednesdays have been a staple of MFTA’s volunteer program since March of 2008. These groups tend to number between 6-12 volunteers, all of whom are excited to participate in providing New York City’s public schools, not-for-profit arts organizations, and city agencies with the materials they so desperately need and would otherwise go without. August 2011 was no different.
What set last night apart was the inclusion of a couple new volunteers looking to make a bigger difference on a national scale. Sharon and Jay left their jobs in the DC area exactly 6 months ago to embark upon a journey of volunteerism while connecting with the varied landscape of North America. Most recently the returned to the States from Canada, where they had been volunteering with various not-for-profits and spending their nights in a tent before moving on to the next adventure the following day. As they’ve traveled, they’ve maintained a blog of their adventures aptly named Service Driven.
When they arrived in NYC, Sharon’s sister, a costumer, recommended MFTA as a potential volunteer opportunity. Seizing the opportunity, Sharon contacted our volunteer coordinator, me, directly and asked if she and Jay could participate in our Wednesday night event.
It can be a rarity to meet people so willing to donate their time and energy to the benefit of others. Today, as our planet undergoes radical changes, our economy fluctuates drastically, and people struggle to live day to day, it is an inspiration to see how much a few people can do for so many in so little time. Sure, the shelves will need restocking tomorrow and the floors will need sweeping again. Yet the effects of such generosity of spirit are felt weeks after the fact and resonate anew every first Wednesday of each month. Clearly, New York cares.