Author Topic: Using food for designated purpose  (Read 5090 times)

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AzaleaBloom

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Using food for designated purpose
« on: August 15, 2013, 04:17:47 PM »
Long time lurker, first time poster, you know the drill.  :)

A little background:

I have been involved with a group at my church for about five years.  We do things like provide food for those who are ill, visit homebound members, and so on.  I love doing it, and it means a lot to those involved.

The group is unofficially divided into two camps:  Those Who Work, and Those Who Do Not.  Those who don't work are either retired and haven't worked in years, or have never worked.  There have occasionally been flare-ups between the two groups - such as, "No, I can't make a delivery to the food bank that is only open during business hours Monday-Friday - but for the most part, we are able to divide labor and keep things equal.

Except in one regard.

When someone in the church dies, the family members are offered a memorial service courtesy of our group.  If they accept this, we will provide very light refreshments - cookies, brownies, lemonade, coffee - and we will serve.  As most receptions are during the week, those of us who work - including me - are generally not able to attend.  However, we are happy to provide food.

Some time back, a disagreement erupted about what food was considered "acceptable."  Those in the "not working" category felt that all food provided should be homemade.  Those of us on the "working" side argued that we didn't always have time to bake something, especially if the situation is such that we only have a few days notice.  I had one woman snap at me that SHE was always able to have home-baked goods when SHE worked, and how dare I not have the time?  A compromise was finally reached that store bought goods were "acceptable", as long as they were of the "higher quality."   ::)

The past several services, I have not been able to attend, but I have contributed cookies and other baked goods.  Every single time, without fail, I am told afterward, "Oh, we didn't use what you brought, so we left it in the kitchen to be used for Fellowship Hour on Sunday."

Maybe this is petty of me - and if it is, please tell me - but I didn't bring the food to be used for Fellowship Hour.  I brought it to be used for the service.  It wouldn't bother me as much if it wasn't the fact that this happens on a regular basis to those of us who bring store-bought goods.  One member of the group has refused to bring food anymore, citing the fact that he is tired of feeling like his contributions aren't "good enough."

Is there a polite way I can say "If you don't use the food for the service, please let me know so I can get it back?" 

Again, if I am being petty here, please let me know.  It just annoys me! 

Raintree

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 04:24:37 PM »
I agree with you. I would not want to spend money on something that was not wanted. I'd tell them that I was happy to contribute food but if it wasn't going to be needed then please let me know in advance so I wouldn't buy it.

SlitherHiss

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 04:26:34 PM »
Wow! I definitely get the annoyance. That would drive me batty and I don't think it's petty in the slightest. IMHO, it doesn't matter where the nibbles come from as long as they're given with love and support. I don't know quite how you'd put a stop to it, though.

All I can think of is "It seems like the last several times, my food hasn't been needed. I don't want to keep bringing food that you have to scramble to deal with later; is there some other way I can offer support?"

Don't make it about the homemade/not homemade issue. Take the wind out of her sails by not acting ashamed or butthurt over her obvious judginess.

lowspark

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 04:27:41 PM »
I gotta side with the guy who quit donating and that's exactly what I would do. Next time they asked I'd reply that since they apparently had an overabundance of food the last few times that they hadn't needed mine, that I would direct my efforts to areas where my contributions would make more sense.

Don't make it about the homemade/not homemade issue. Take the wind out of her sails by not acting ashamed or butthurt over her obvious judginess.

This.

cwm

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 04:31:03 PM »
Don't make it about the homemade/not homemade issue. Take the wind out of her sails by not acting ashamed or butthurt over her obvious judginess.

This.

Toss me onboard with this plan too. Be as nice as possible when you're asked.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 04:32:55 PM »
Is this something that can be brought up to the pastor or a senior leader.  It seems wrong that people are being told that their contributions aren't welcome.  It would definitely turn me off from volunteering not only with this group, but also volunteering with the church in general.

Lindee

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 04:36:38 PM »
I'd  eitther stop  contributing to this particular type of event or bake batches of suitable cookies and freeze  them ready to be used when needed. Just choose recipes that freeze well.

Lynn2000

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 04:38:05 PM »
I don't think you're being petty. I think this would be a good issue to bring to your pastor, or whoever is next up the chain. To me it's a classic case of volunteers being discouraged by other volunteers, and that is not what an organization wants to have happen. As you saw, it's already driven one person to quit volunteering for this project. It's not about cookies, it's about people being told their efforts aren't good enough and aren't appreciated or wanted.

Hopefully the pastor will take your concerns seriously. Maybe you could also go in with a practical plan for resolving the situation (though in this case I think the pastor should address the spiritual issues with the group as well, as I have a feeling some people are not abiding by the principles of the religious organization).

I thought of a couple--like having an official list of brands to be used for each occasion, or making someone fill out a form when they reject a food offering explaining why--but they all seem over-the-top to me. However, they could serve as compromises if both groups agree to them. Right now, things are informal, and some people are making decisions completely on their own that other people can't predict and can't appeal. One solution is to make things more formal, so that everyone knows the rules and people are forced to own the decisions they make. It's more work and not as "nice," but if the complainers are spoiling things, maybe this will rein them in.
~Lynn2000

DottyG

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 04:42:53 PM »
First of all, welcome OP! :)

Secondly, you're not being petty.  I was irritated on your behalf in reading your story.

And, thirdly, I agree with this:

Is this something that can be brought up to the pastor or a senior leader.  It seems wrong that people are being told that their contributions aren't welcome.  It would definitely turn me off from volunteering not only with this group, but also volunteering with the church in general.

shhh its me

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 04:43:46 PM »
Wow! I definitely get the annoyance. That would drive me batty and I don't think it's petty in the slightest. IMHO, it doesn't matter where the nibbles come from as long as they're given with love and support. I don't know quite how you'd put a stop to it, though.

All I can think of is "It seems like the last several times, my food hasn't been needed. I don't want to keep bringing food that you have to scramble to deal with later; is there some other way I can offer support?"

Don't make it about the homemade/not homemade issue. Take the wind out of her sails by not acting ashamed or butthurt over her obvious judginess.

This but I would be a tad harsher.... "since there is obviously an over abundance of food. *sincerely with no snark* it's the generosity just wonderful :) .  what can I do besides food? since we have more food then we need"  or suggest something they can do with the food your donating (BTW I would not take issue if the grieved were being given the left overs.) Since we seem to have so much left over perhaps we should start donate to a shelter? (If you wanted your donation to go to a shelter for example)

knowing what store baked goods costs might I also suggest a bit of fruit; A bowl of apples and pears would have been very appreciated.  that may not trigger  the" but but * gasp*  you didn't bake it "  response.

I also agree with speaking to the pastor.

DottyG

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 04:45:05 PM »
Actually, fruit would be a great idea.  Even cut fruit (you can buy that at the store in a platter) would be a great thing to donate.  I'm sure some fresh things like that would be really appreciated at these lunches.


Coralreef

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 04:45:32 PM »
I would stop contributing.  If it were the "leftovers" from the service that went to the Fellowship hour, I don't think I would object.  But your whole contribution, because it doesn't meet some arbitrary standard of excellence?  Full stop. 

And who can say that store bought is less that homemade?  If I judge by one sister's cooking skills, you're better off shopping in the dogfood aisle. 


[/right

Roe

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 04:47:02 PM »
I'd stop donating.

nolechica

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2013, 04:51:32 PM »
I wouldn't ask for food back if it didn't get used, but I do think the fruit suggestion (or any other perishable) is good.  As for quality of baked goods, are they worried about plating or just being snobbish?  I'd totally buy plastic trays to send if it were the former.

Winterlight

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2013, 04:52:33 PM »
Is this something that can be brought up to the pastor or a senior leader.  It seems wrong that people are being told that their contributions aren't welcome.  It would definitely turn me off from volunteering not only with this group, but also volunteering with the church in general.

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