The best part of volunteering, besides the feel good aspect of helping out, is the snacks. I think we all know this. As an omnivore, man oh man, the world is your oyster. When you have food limitations (and with a natural and unfortunate allergy to walnuts, I actually have a real food limitation — not self-imposed) that big edible pile diminishes. I don’t eat pastries, for example, if there’s even a chance that there may be nuts (of any type) in it, particularly if there isn’t an ingredient list. Now, as a newly-minted pescetarian, more snacks have snuck out of the pile, too. One of the organizations I volunteer for, the Twin Tiers Challenger Learning Center, recently held a marketing committee meeting (the committee I’m on) during lunch on a workday. The lunch served was pizza. Pepperoni pizza. Now, I had a bit of a question to answer for myself – do I just pick the pep off, since I don’t have an allergy or a super-strong moral objection? Or do I have to abstain completely? I picked the pepperoni off. And as I picked it off, I was surprised to get an apology from the Chair for not having vegetarian options available (pretty nice, huh?). So I don’t think I’ll have to make that decision in that particular situation again. However, now that I have the luxury of time, I can pick the past apart, and I wonder if that was the right choice. I mean, I was hungry. The meeting lasted 2 ½ hours, so without any sustenance, I question how effectively I could have contributed. Maybe a smarter route would be to pack lunches on meeting days – thereby assuring my meal of choice without influencing the entire group’s lunch selection.
The other group I volunteer for, my old high school, has been holding meetings to plan the summer reunion events. One of these events, and the committee I’m on currently, is for a silent auction to be held at this fun local natural park, called Rock City Park. Consequently, the planning meetings are all being held at Rock City Park, too, which is definitely a bonus. Since the facility is not air conditioned, the owners set up a snack table for our meetings consisting of melon, grapes, cheese, crackers, ice water and (bless their hearts) wine. The meeting, not held during a mealtime or during work, lends itself a little bit better to light finger food, and a refreshing hunk of melon on a hot day is very difficult to beat (and oh-so-meatless!) A side note: because of the area, and the culinary expectations for this area, it is a foregone conclusion that beef on weck will be served at the reunion dinner, so there are plans for other (and other vegetarian!) options to be available at the silent auction itself.
It’s on my mind because I have another silent auction meeting tonight, and a healthy hankering for melon.