Sunday, February 05, 2023

Feed My Starving Children

This last week I did a stint at Feed My Starving Children in Eagan with a bunch of Minnesota co-workers.  There's no office here; we're all remote.  Originally we all thought there were five or six of us, but the total is closer to twenty.  Eight showed up for the event over lunch [Alteryx does give us a couple of days of paid leave to volunteer each year. Historically, I log them, but tend to make up all those hours and volunteer a lot more than 16.  That was the case at Thomson Reuters as well.  I will say, it's not back patting.  I'm not incredibly passionate about any one thing and I really respect people who are.  My area of focus is - and here you can see the disparate nature of it: kids with diabetes, kids with brain issues and cancer, adults with Alzheimer's, bikes for kids, food for kids, planting trees and clearing parks, medical services in Uganda, Movember which I don't miss with my porno mustaches, books for prisons, school supplies, food shelves, MS of course...ah, checking my LinkedIn for recorded memory: teaching kids Python, teaching teachers Python, teaching classrooms about tech jobs, hour of code, Garlough kids reading to me, teaching kids about economics and practical skills, coordinating volunteer services for several thousand coworkers, and putting in some volunteer hours on the corporate donation match and time match systems I originally created and maintained for more then a decade until we went with an enterprise system.  It's more about me and variety and meeting new people, so in the end it's a little selfish.]

I've done Feed My Starving Children a number of times.  2008 with a Thomson Reuters crew2013 with some of Aeryn's classmates [some of whom were coworkers at TR].  2013 again, and a few years around that watershed in both directions, as I worked with the TR Global Volunteer group to have FMSC come to TR so we could have a few thousand people volunteer instead of a few thousand people travel to the packing site.  They just drove a semi full of tables and tons of food and supplies down into the underground parking garage.  I specifically remember labeling bags the year I couldn't walk so well because of the busted hip and pins - e.g. probably 2012.

This was a particularly fun instance because there was a group of challenged adults from Dundas.  Maybe Epic Enterprises?  I think I heard that name while all the chatting was happening.  They were a great time.  Super friendly and really supportive of each other.  I spent more time on their line then on our Alteryx line as we firmed up our stations.  The majority of my time was heat sealing bags of food.

Here we are, busily packing.  I'm way over in that far corner of the photo.  I'm disappointed you can't see the blind co-packer on my line.  He was the most upbeat person I've met in a long time.  Cracked jokes, Didn't spill a grain. Told stories.  Made me smile the whole time.

Cleanup commences.

Cleanup well underway.  That woman near the incomplete packed food because it wasn't quite enough for a box was so nice.  A real joy to talk to. She's staff at Dundas.  

Here we all are post-packing.  I had my hairnet off already, although it's not like I have a lot of hair to net.  Was cool that Christina showed up.  She was my recruitment friend at Alteryx.  A year ago or so she was looking for a job after a stint at Kowalski's in Eagan where she worked with my kid [they even played board games together].  I put her in touch with a couple folks in the ML space I knew locally. However, eventually she went with Alteryx, which I'd been interested in because I knew a little about their product and found it super intuitive for non-coders.  So when I realized my time at VP needed to end, she was my reference.  It was good to realize some of the locals had been with the company almost seven years as well.  That means the commitment to a certain amount of remote work has always been there and isn't just a symptom of the covid era that will disappear the way some companies are trying to position it.  Anyway....great time.  I really need to get over there a bit more often.  It is uplifting to know my food was headed to Columbia to shore up malnutrition and starvation.

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