Operation Supply Drop SF Bay Area, on the Move
Millions of people volunteer in this country to give back to their communities, to help a particular cause, to stay busy, and to fill their time with constructive and meaningful activity. It’s generally a moving experience for all in involved, but in the case of Operation Supply Drop’s San Francisco Bay Area Team’s activities this year, it has been literally moving as well.
The first call came in January to an OSD SF Bay Team member. An older Veteran needed help moving from his home and needed some muscle to help accomplish this daunting task. Asked if she knew anyone that could help, the team member thought of her OSD Teammates and contacted one of their co-team leaders, Ted Arrindell. By visiting a local Veteran group and asking for willing hands and strong backs – and maybe a big truck – Ted was able to find willing helpers.
As Ted relayed the good news to his team member, he learned there was another Veteran that was in need of the same help. Then a third name was added to the list as word of mouth spread. Ted went back to the Veteran’s group and recruited a couple more would-be-movers. None of these Veterans were yet members of the OSD SF Bay Team – they were simply willing to step forward to help out a fellow Veteran – or in this case three fellow Veterans – with one of life’s more irksome activities.
The Veterans quickly formed a plan to get all of the moves accomplished in the most logical way, no easy feat as they were all happening within two weeks of each other. There were other matters to consider as well. In one particularly challenging move, the Veteran lived at the top of an incredibly steep incline with too many steps to count. The Veteran himself was dependent on a stair chair to transport him from the parking area to the home, a trip that took 27 minutes per trip up to accomplish as the mechanics struggled against gravity. Moving without assistance in a case like this would be impossible, and with the usual means of assistance incredibly expensive. In donating a few hours of their time, the Veteran volunteers were able to alleviate the worry, physical struggle and stress of the move and helped this older Veteran not only load up and unload his items, but assisted with donating items and trash runs during the cleanup phase, too.
All three moves were completed, amassing over forty hours of volunteer labor, and still the Veteran helpers were ready for more. They all joined the OSD SF Bay Team and eagerly awaited another assignment. When the word of the help spread throughout the local population of older Veterans, a few more Veterans stepped forward with their inquiries. Could the OSD SF Bay Team assist this Veteran with some trash removal? Could the team assist this widow of a Veteran who was sorting through items from her late husband? And then could they help her with removal of the unwanted items? The reoccurring and enthusiastic answer was “Yes! Yes!”
Arrindell speaks with pride about these Veterans who have stepped forward, despite their own challenges and needs to be addressed, to help their brothers and sisters. The group has truly bonded during these times of giving back and reaching out to their surrounding communities. Not only are they moving bulky things, hauling off discarded items, and working together to accomplish these missions, but they are offering solace to the folks they are assisting.
In one case, the widow of a Veteran needed assistance but was a little uneasy at the idea. She said she wasn’t sure her late husband would approve of having four male strangers in the house. The solution for that was provided by the Team, as they all sat down and had tea and coffee. They began introducing their selves and talking until everyone there was no longer a stranger. Addressing needs not related to moving has been a moving experience, as well.
Since the beginning of the year this part of the OSD SF Bay Team has helped with four moves and multiple tidying projects. There are no plans for letting up. These Veterans have the volunteering bug now – when you are engaged in meaningful work the last thing you want to do is stop.
OSD SF Bay Team has other team activities planned and it’s not all work gloves and dolly pushing. Over the next couple of months they are hosting an online gaming event and entering into the world of Roller Hockey. Civilians and Veterans alike are welcome in the group and they welcome new members with open arms. There are a variety of ways to get involved with their Team, but one thing is for sure – however you get engaged, you will belong to a team that stays on the move.
If you would like to get involved in the SF Bay Area chapter of The Teams or in a chapter where you live, please visit: https://operationsupplydrop.org/the-teams