Davenport, Iowa, a city where we had no idea what to expect as we were driving for a day through fields of farmland. All we knew was from our 8th grade musical Mel and I were the “dancers” in. The Music Man sings about “Davenport, Mason City, Keokuk, Ames, and Clear Lake…. Ought to give Iowa a try!” So we did!
By the time we reached the city it was hot, 91 degrees to be exact! Our beloved friend, Kimmy, had told us if you go to Davenport you have to go Mississippi River Distilling Company and visit her friend, Sean. Just as we pulled up to the distillery we hear a voice, “Are you the Gypsy Givers?” Sure enough, it was Sean. We made plans for later to see the city and spend the night.
We arrived just before sunset to Sean’s charming, Victorian home he shares with his dog, Kona. They were waiting for us on the front steps. He gave us a picture-perfect bike tour at sunset of Davenport, where we witnessed a boat lock along the Mississippi River, a beautiful ballpark with carnival rides and finally, a few breweries on the way home.
The next morning we left Sean with big hugs of thanks. He was such a kind, attentive host offering a peek into the life he lives inDavenport. We went to volunteer our time as a way to give back for all the love we were shown.
Belinda, AmeriCorps Vista, welcomed our party of three to The River Bend Food Pantry. All of the staff came out of their offices to greet us! This was such a kind gesture that made us feel right at home. We were taken back to the sorting facility in their warehouse. This building was extremely clean and well kept as far as food pantries have gone during our travels. The building is only two years old and the old facility was a mere 1/3 of its size. They truly need the space as they supply food orders to seventeen counties in Illinois and four in Iowa.
We were given the task of taking care of the items from the food drive they recently held. We scanned for expiration dates and then put them into the correct category to be boxed by weight.
At the end of our shift the Executive Director, Mike, came in and introduced himself making sure we were happy with our hours spent here at the Food Bank in hopes it had enhanced our trip. As their motto goes, “A volunteer isn’t paid because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” Thank you, River Bend Food Bank, for making us feel the love.
An added surprise to our departure as we arrived back at Scarlet– Sean had left us a care package while we were inside working. We left Davenport sure that this hip, Midwestern gem will be revisited by the gypsies.