Firstly, I’d have taken a photo of the scene at the donation site, but in the chaos of this week, I’ve misplaced my camera.
But let me say this:
I’ve had a box of clothes sitting here, waiting to be donated somewhere for about six months. It was very easy to be motivated to throw it in the car and mosey down to 3111 28th St. — between Time Warp Comics and Thunderbird Burgers in Tebo Plaza, and they’re open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the foreseeable future — to donate it. It was very easy to get the donation receipt.
But it wasn’t all that easy to leave. It’s a small thing I did. I carried a box of clothes that I was ready to part with long ago down to a strip mall about a three-minute drive (in traffic) from my home. But there was a line of cars. The traffic was caused by people wanting to donate clothes to people who’ve been evacuated — some who already know that there’s nothing to go home to. The Civil Air Patrol directed traffic and helped unload cars efficiently, so most people didn’t get out of their cars at all.
I had parked back by Blockbuster, seeing the traffic, figuring I’d just walk the box in.
Inside was a vacant unit, set up just for this cause. Row after row of folding tables were piled with garbage bags and cardboard boxes full of clothes, which volunteers sorted and folded.
Two men in Civil Air Patrol uniforms breezed past me with grocery carts full of bags to be added to the operation.
“It’s like thrift shopping in reverse,” one said.
And it’s true — that’s exactly how it looked. It looked like they were setting up a very large thrift store for the very first time.
After I got my receipt, a woman stepped up to the volunteer sign-in table next to me. She had just dropped off some clothes. She said that as long as she was here, she figured she could help sort some clothes.
I was just so impressed by the efficiency and the quantity of goodwill in front of my eyes, I got kind of worked up. I could have watched it all day, if I didn’t have a laundry list of things to do to prepare for some travel and the possibility of a one-day weekend.