Hey cool kids,
I finally finished my community service on Wednesday (11/22) and I thought I’d go ahead and share what the experience was like.
So to start with, I was required to do 80 hours of community service after I was given a reckless driving citation in June. (If you want to hear more about that, let me know in the comments and I’ll gladly share that experience with you). I put off doing the community service until this month partly due to procrastination and partly because I justified working full-time and going to school part-time as not having enough time to do it (even though I was free on weekends). Anywho, this continued until this past month, when I left everything in GA in a rather dramatic fashion to spend more time with my family and work on personal things, like this blog.
So fast forward, with Tara’s (my partner) help, we found a food pantry here in Lancaster that allowed me to work as much as I wanted a week. We arranged everything and the next day I went in after dropping Wyatt off at school. Well, surprise! When I get there I find out it isn’t just a food pantry, no, it in fact is a Lutheran run food pantry. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing really to say about Lutherans in particular. I’ve heard some less than ideal talk about them in the past, but it was so insignificant to me that I don’t even remember what I heard. So there I am, walking in wearing a black women’s sweater, skinny jeans, and boots. I check in with the volunteer coordinator, Carin, and of course she’s using my legal name. I’ll admit, at this point I was too nervous to tell her that I was trans (given the Lutheran bit) so I literally just went along with her calling me my birth name. So yea.
So there’s the setup, I spent 2 weeks pretending to be a boy. It wasn’t horrible, but I will say that it started to get to me after the first week. It’s never easy to get incorrectly gendered, and having it happen for a whole 2 weeks because you’re afraid sucks even more. I had a lot of issues trying to find clothes, because for the most part, I don’t have any “Manly” clothing anymore. I had some t-shirts and jeans, but even my shoes were hard because my only sneakers are pink/purple. The only plus side to it all was not needing to shave every day, but after awhile it started to make me feel disgusted with myself and really dysphoric.
As far as the actual food pantry work, it was pretty monotonous. Every day I’d go in and restock the shelves with food from the warehouse. Then I’d clean the floors and bathrooms. By this time it would normally be around 9am and the pantry didn’t open to the public until 11am, so I would either clean up, help do some busy work, or just sit on my phone. All of the people I met there and that worked there were really nice, though many of them weren’t very helpful during the day because they were old as dirt. Of course that makes sense since the only people who have time to volunteer at places like the food pantry are old retired people.
Anywho, while there wasn’t a lot going on while I worked, I did meet some “interesting” people. One guy, I swear, was high as shit when he was working. He works on Fridays and his name is Mike. He spent the whole time we were working talking about how he’s a thief and how the pantry was “Like Mecca” to him. Then he went on about how he loves to take steaks and other donated meat from the freezers home with him because “It gets me [Mike] tons of pussy”. If you couldn’t tell, he had a ton of respect for women.
Another guy, also named Mike (maybe it’s a trend?) was kind of the same way. All he did when he volunteered was try to find food he could take home with him. That was literally his only reason for being there. Then, when we got a donation from the local prison (it was a bunch of confiscated food from prisoners) he got super excited and kept reminiscing about his time in prison. Personally I don’t get it. I used to eat tons of MREs, but I definitely would not be excited to have any if someone donated a box.
Now at this point you’re probably wondering: did Scylla take anything? I’ll be honest with you, yes I did. Some of the meat that was donated had holes in the packaging and was going to be thrown out even though it was good. So I took that home. I also took home bread that was donated that was going to be thrown out before it could all be used. I don’t feel guilty about it because for one, I wasn’t bragging about taking it, two it was going to be thrown out and wasted, and three, I’m poor as fuck. So if you want to judge me, go for it.
Wrapping this all up, I would definitely say that I didn’t hate my experience doing my community service at the food pantry. Even though it wasn’t great, I got to help a lot of people and I genuinely feel like I did something productive. I even plan to go volunteer there once in awhile now that I’m done, though admittedly it won’t be anything consistent or anything. I would encourage anyone reading this to consider volunteering when they have free time once in awhile, too. It really does feel good to help other people (or animals if that’s what you’re doing) and I personally feel that I can sacrifice playing video games for a couple of hours to do it ever now and then. That being said, here’s another Battle Chef Brigade Let’s play-