Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day Service event at RFK Stadium

This morning I got a text message from the Obama team asking people to go to RFK stadium for a service event to assemble care packages for US military personal serving overseas.

So Teresa, Angela and I drove over to RFK and found a massive operation that was more like a participatory piece of public performance art than a true service event, but it was very well organized and fun.

As thousands of people streamed in they were herded into lines where you would be handed a clipboard with a stack of sign in slips. You would fill in your name address, phone number and email address and then hand the slip and the rest of the clipboard to a volunteer who would collect the info and pass the clipboard back to a runner to go to someone else at the back of the line.

Once inside we were directed to a section of the stadium, where a groups of about 100 were seated together and a voluteer with a megaphone gave us instructions and then led us all in a very silly Obama dance that we were supposed to do in unison, followed by a few rounds of the "Fired Up, Ready to Go" chant with the group next to us.

After this preparation, we were sent into one of the entrances to a very long, heated tent facility, where we would snake through a line, pick up a plastic bag and walk our way past volunteers who would add their particular item into the bag, trick-or-treat style. Finally at the end of the long circuit we would hand the filled bag to another volunteer, who would seal it and put it with the others in groups. Then we would walk aound the circle, and go through the whole circuit again.

Finally, after several loops we were directed out to an area where everyone was asked to write personalized notes, which were to be put in with the care packages. This was set up whereby volunteers made sure that clipboards with stacks of thank you cards and a pen were placed at each stadium seat, so that wherever you went, you could pick one up and write one, or many notes, and then put the clipboard back on the seat for the next person.

In that manner, 75,000 care packages were assembled, and many thousands of volunteers were given a chance to participate. On the way out everyone was given a red target bag with a commemorative bottle of water, a note of thanks, and a brownie for the road.

1 comment:

Barb said...

Your Day of Service turns out to be of service to me and to others who read your blog. You have no idea how wonderful it is to get a tiny piece of the real action through you and how very difficult it is to be otherwise so very far away. Thank you and keep writing, although I know it must be difficult in the midst of all you are experiencing and feeling right now. Again, thanks.