A Week with Good Samaritan Network’s Christmas Program – Monday

Day two of setting up for Good Samaritan Network’s Christmas event is the beginning of controlled chaos. This follows Sunday, where the main goal was getting pallets and skids brought in with items. It is on this second day that the items start to get shifted into the locations they go for Saturday’s distribution, but it is also the day that walls start to go up and tables begin to be set up.

In the far area of the building, the household items tend to be the first to start being organized. this takes dozens of volunteers during several shifts to set up tables, open boxes and begin the organization process. This area also includes adult clothing and infant clothing, so the organization is critical.

The main area of the building is the toys section, which also contains kid and teen clothing. This area is among the most chaotic on Monday because all of the pallets containing boxes will eventually end up on tables. The fun is the fact that the tables go where the pallets currently sit. As such, the entire room is a giant tile game where things get shifted and moved to begin the organization. On Monday the clothing is generally the biggest focus because it ends up primarily along the walls. In fact, a wall between the household items and the toy section is put in place and the clothing boxes put by them and then onto the tables. The main area of the hall is then set up with tables that go back and forth.

It’s a Maze

When this event occurs, the people attending follow a path that is a giant maze through the room. You enter on one end and go back and forth selection items. You exit at the other end. This maze gets set up the beginning of the week and then items are organized throughout it. It is a site to behold. At the end of day Monday, the maze is not seen, but by end of day Tuesday it will be there.

This year, Monday was interesting. There were a few more skids of items than I’ve seen in past years. Of course, I also heard that the number of people expected on Saturday is also expected to be higher than normal. It often seems like a lot, but then on Saturday, you wonder if it is by the time the last people are coming through. It was fun clearing areas to start setting up tables. Just as we managed to clear a a good area, Northview church stopped by. They managed to fill the entire area that had just been cleared with new toys! That church rocked it!

Here are a few pictures of how the building looked at the end of Monday. It might look chaotic, but there is a plan!

There were a lot of great volunteers on Monday that helped get the start of the organization of items going. This included one of my neighbors, a number of Girls Scouts, and many more. While most had signed up on gsnlive.org, a few simply dropped in to help.

Who Is Doing This?

Lead by Nancy Chance, Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County serves thousands of people in the community at this event. I was given a mind-blowing number today for the number of kids that would be served with the toys and other donated items. The number is so big I want to verify it before posting. As such, I’ll try to post it on the Tuesday report.

In addition to doing this event, GSN does a lot of other events as well. This including providing Thanksgiving meals to over 1,800 people last month. These included over 5,000 slices of pie or other desserts! Good Samaritan’s staff is small, so most of what they do is thanks to the help of numerous volunteers. Many of their programs are successful because it is the community helping the community.

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