Weekly Project Journal
Each week of the project, student must submit a project journal entry. The journal entry consists of three parts:
1. Description. What happened in your project this week? What did you do? Experience?
As usual, I worked at data entry. But in addition this week, I did some file organization - I was cleaning them out (getting rid of sheets where applicants were no longer a part of the program). Also, I started my interviews (which was absolutely wonderful, but I won't write about it this week, because I have more next week).
There were a couple of things that I took more specific notice of this week as I worked at the desk of the CSFP.
Awhile back, one of the volunteers commented how certain ethnic groups tended to take more than others; he was right. SHH sometimes puts out boxes of extra food that clients can take in plastic bags if they wish to; last week there was a whole box full of apples. One client asked how many apples he could take, and I said a lot (I've picked up that response from the other volunteers who work there)- without my knowing it, he filled his entire plastic bag with all the apples from the cardboard box. Hmmmm...not quite what I meant...
It is interesting though, because some ask, and some just take. Some do it rather sneakily, some openly say they don't want to be greedy, but then take more than I think they'll possibly be able to eat before it goes bad. Interesting side note though: I always feel more inclined to give more to those who more discreetly ask for it than those who openly try to push for more and more food (I think the other volunteers feel the same way).
To avoid people taking more than necessary, the volunteer that I work with keeps the extras in back and brings out samples. He'll ask the client if they could use some of this or some of that, and then he'll put together a box for them. It works really well, because then they get a variety and it's more evenly distributed. Plus, when it's not as busy, you can spend more time on one car instead of rushing things through. The people who volunteer there are extremely generous though - they really give away liberal amounts of food - which is good because people are hungry.
Regardless of how much they take though, everyone is very grateful (some repeatedly express gratitude by multiple, multiple thank yous). Some actually are even quite conversational - while they're waiting they'll sit there and talk to me. More often than not we talk about the weather; mostly because it's really cold and how much can you really talk about in two minutes? But if they mention something about kids or grandkids I'll ask questions and such; I know from watching my mom that grandma's love talking about their grandkids.
One thing that I'm interested in asking about during interviews is how much the clients rely on the food they receive. Many of the people who come in for the elderly program are overweight; my guess is that SHH works to give nutritious food so people don't fill up on the cheap, unhealthy stuff that will eventually cause problems. We'll see...
2. Interpretation. What did you learn from your project this week? About the project? About the issue? About yourself?
The observations from the desk were helpful just in piecing together some information and helping to form more questions - but a lot of the learning came from the two interviews. Questions were answered about short and long term programs, effectiveness of programs, causes behind the problem, possible solutions, steps to take, the changing of stereotypes (how they no longer exist) and gave insight to the complexity of issues (like the trickle and spiral effect). Plus, it was nice to talk to some people and get some advice.