Why I Like Volunteer Packaging At Potsdam Food Co-op
I am attempting to take a pathway less traveled by myself and write an article that is not about nutrition, herbs, or health. Realistically, something will sneak its way in here, of this I am certain. Let me tell you why I like volunteer packaging at Potsdam Food Co-op!
I have been volunteering at the Co-op for a long time. The end of 2021 will mark my 25 years of Co-op Community Service. My first job, 25 years ago, was cleaning the freezer and refrigerator condensers in the cellar. Apparently, I did the job well as I was then invited to come out of the cellar to clean the upstairs condensers. Within 6 months, I got rooked into writing articles for the newsletter when it was discovered that the condenser cleaner was an RN & School Health Education Teacher. The Co-op manager, at that time, thought it would be useful and fun to add information to our then bi-monthly newsletters that revolved around food and their nutritional value, herbs, and topics of food-related health.
Several weeks ago, thinking about my close to 25 year Co-op writing habit, I decided it was time to try my hand at something new… packaging bulk foods. Here are the top 10 reasons why I like volunteer packaging at the Co-op…
Why I Like Volunteer Packaging At The Food Co-op
- With all due respect, it is somewhat mindless work, much like washing dishes and hanging laundry. I have time to be quiet if I chose, breathe, pay attention to the raisins or whatever I am scooping, and just let my mind wander or settle.
- 3, & 4. The Co-op is full of great people: staff, customers, and other volunteers. For example, I do my weekly packaging with my sons Jake and Eli. I get chat time with my kids. Sometimes we are joined by Clarkson students putting in community service time. There are always good conversations to be had with young people, Co-op staff, and Co-op customers. Community and socialization are good for the heart, mind, and soul.
- The Co-op always seems to have a fun mix of music playing. Dancing is an optional habit if it does not interfere with my packing. A little rhythmic swinging of the hips, while otherwise standing stationary in the packaging area, is great for circulation.
- I have an opportunity to wear my colorful skull cap after years of being tucked into a drawer. We must follow the health department’s guidelines with hair coverings so I might as well make it fun. The fun keeps our spirits light.
- I get to avoid my regular business work for a while. The change of scenery, physically and in my head, is pleasant. This is my mental health break from my business responsibilities.
- I get to learn all the bulk foods the Co-op has available. One product I was unaware of and now I cannot get enough of is the organic, dried mango slices. Amazing taste for sure and I close my eyes and pretend I am in Jamaica. Did you know there are quite a few active ingredients and antioxidants in dried mango that contribute to healthy skin as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects? Dried mango benefits digestion with its dietary fiber and compounds in the mango that soothes the digestive tract and the digestive process. It is high in the carotenes of vitamin A, an important vitamin for normal metabolic function. While dried mango has some iron in it, do not count on it as your lone iron source, if you are anemic. Mango also packs some B vitamin support for nourishing your body.
- As a volunteer, I am eligible to help myself to the organic coffee we sell at the Co-op. So far, I have not indulged in this practice but I keep telling myself I will. Caffeine, in coffee form, enhances the packaging space dancing. According to an article in Healthline (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee), coffee has some nutritional and plant healing benefits: Increases energy levels. This is a truth in short-term feelings of energy to get you through an occasional slump. Over time, relying on coffee to keep you humming along is draining to the adrenal glands, your stress response glands, because it stimulates the release of epinephrine.
– Can boost the body’s metabolic rate for fat burning but again, don’t rely on coffee as a weight management tool.
– Coffee contains small amounts of vitamin B2, vitamin B5, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and niacin.
– There is some evidence that moderate amounts of coffee may have some protective benefits around diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, strokes, and some forms of cancer.
– Coffee may be liver-protective. The bitter flavor of coffee stimulates the liver to release bile. This bile release, as well as the general stimulatory effects of coffee on the colon, support many people’s morning BMs.
– One of the claims in the article, “The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in the Western Diet”, is a bit disturbing to me. My RN-Natural Health Education mode kicks into gear here and I start thinking… if this is Western eater’s highest source of anti-oxidants, I have some work cut out for me.
- And for the final touch, I earn a 20% discount on my Co-op purchases for my volunteer packaging time. The savings add up quickly when I am buying food to feed myself and two young men. Hmm, I wonder if Lynn could give me the run-down of how much I am saving monthly, a little financial health overview?