What I Learned Running The Backpack Program

I am currently interning under the Director of Missions and Outreach at my church. A few years back we began partnering with the food bank and local schools to provide lower-income students bags of food to take home with them.

As an intern, I was asked to complete an assortment of random tasks that ranged from proofreading to designing, from grunt work to overseeing a program. From the start, I knew that the backpack program would be a challenge. Solely, based on the behind the scenes work that goes into a packing night.

Each month begins with emailing the schools we partner with to get a final count for the month. Once I compile counts; I reach out to the food bank to order food and schedule a pickup. After I have a date and time, I begin contacting a list of people that don’t mind picking up the food. Once the food is back at the church, it needs to be out of the way until packing night. On the day of packing, we have a lady who comes and sets the room up for us. In the middle of all that, we are communicating with our church body to invite people to help us pack. After we pack; I get about a week off before the process starts all over again.

While this is hardly a gruesome task, it holds a variety of moving parts. Managing these parts can sometimes make me want to scream.

What it has taught me is how to keep my ducks in a line. Turns out a line doesn’t always go straight from point A to point B; it can swerve, curve, and go a little kooky on the way. Learning to manage what can feel like a hundred different moving parts have given me the ability to bring a big picture concept to reality through attention to the small details.

I have been brought to a place where communication is quite literally the make or break factor. If I can’t effectively communicate with all my moving parts; I can’t expect them to accomplish their jobs. The biggest development hurdle has been learning to communicate in a way that doesn’t leave anything up for personal interpretation.

Once I put forth the effort to communicate effectively and clearly, it feels like I can take on the world. So, let’s go conquer today.

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