The Bodhi Monastery is our volunteering home away from home.
We have worked here for years without seeing for ourselves where the fresh produce comes from every week. We were asked to help unload the truck on a Thursday evening from Fresh Pickin’s, a produce stand on Route 206 in New Jersey.
We arrived on this rainy evening and were greeted by the owners and a few others who were there to help. The truck comes in from farms in Pennsylvania and any extra items for the week are given to the pantry. We unloaded tons of different apples, melons, tomatoes, peppers- you name it. Besides fruit and vegetables being so nutritious, they also are quite beautiful in so many variations. We helped merchandise some of the produce while we chatted with everyone about our adventures.
Rain or shine, cold or warm, they are out here every Thursday unloading and restocking. The pizza and delicious drinks make it that much more enjoyable.
We had several VIP visitors help us at the pantry while we were home.
On that Friday, we brought along my sister, Nicole, to the pantry for the day. It meant so much to us to have her by our sides. She got the hands on feeling of the routine we do by helping these individuals and families survive economic and personal hardships. It ended up being more of a family affair than we thought. Mel’s mom brought along her Aunt Pat as well. We, of course, had fun all together! We setup the assembly line and got to work giving things out. The thought of how hectic it would have been without the additional help is mindboggling. An hour and a half out of a Friday morning makes a huge difference in the lives of others. We rewarded ourselves with a group breakfast with our loved ones at one of our local favorites, Bagel Bistro. They also donate bread and bagels to the pantry every week. It was great to experience the entire process from start to finish.
Later that night we piled into our friends red Tahoe (maybe Scarlet needs a boyfriend?) and headed to hear a local Grateful Dead cover band, Reflections, on a beach nearby. We had wind in our hair, sand in our shoes, and smiles on our faces. It was a perfect day in Northern New Jersey.