Author Topic: Using food for designated purpose  (Read 4858 times)

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CluelessBride

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2013, 09:14:04 PM »
To be fair, if I were organizing the putting out of food and I didn't have enough room for everything/had too much food, I would put out the perishables and home-baked goods first. Generally store bought baked goods lasts longer - especially if its still in the original packaging (which is the easiest way to tell that it is store bought). If I'm going to have leftovers I'd rather it be of stuff that will last. Additionally, in my experience with buffet/potluck situations home baked goods tend to go faster than store bought, so it is possible the store goods are being put out but passed over.

I understand not having time and/or the ability to bake all the time, and I don't think that there is actually anything wrong with bringing a store bought contribution. However, if it were me personally, I'd go with store bought contributions like deli/veggie/fruit platters instead of baked goods. That way they are not in direct competition with the homemade goods. In fact, that is what I have done in the past when I didn't have time to make something for a potluck. 


Ultimately, what it comes down to is that your contributions aren't being appreciated the way that you would like. But unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you can't change others, only yourself. I see three options:

1. Change your expectations about being appreciated. Accept that the food may not be used exactly how you intend it and just let it not bother you.

2. Change your contributions to something that gets your the appreciation you'd like.

3. Stop contributing.

I guess the 4th option is to ask for the contribution back, but I'm not convinced you can politely do that with a donation without coming across poorly.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2013, 11:01:46 PM »
To be fair, if I were organizing the putting out of food and I didn't have enough room for everything/had too much food, I would put out the perishables and home-baked goods first. Generally store bought baked goods lasts longer - especially if its still in the original packaging (which is the easiest way to tell that it is store bought). If I'm going to have leftovers I'd rather it be of stuff that will last. Additionally, in my experience with buffet/potluck situations home baked goods tend to go faster than store bought, so it is possible the store goods are being put out but passed over.

I understand not having time and/or the ability to bake all the time, and I don't think that there is actually anything wrong with bringing a store bought contribution. However, if it were me personally, I'd go with store bought contributions like deli/veggie/fruit platters instead of baked goods. That way they are not in direct competition with the homemade goods. In fact, that is what I have done in the past when I didn't have time to make something for a potluck. 


Ultimately, what it comes down to is that your contributions aren't being appreciated the way that you would like. But unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you can't change others, only yourself. I see three options:

1. Change your expectations about being appreciated. Accept that the food may not be used exactly how you intend it and just let it not bother you.

2. Change your contributions to something that gets your the appreciation you'd like.

3. Stop contributing.

I guess the 4th option is to ask for the contribution back, but I'm not convinced you can politely do that with a donation without coming across poorly.

CluelessBride, that's a really good point! It could be that the group is putting out the Perishable Food first, and this doesn't usually include packaged, store-bought goods.

That said, it's a little dodgy that this is happening every single time.

OP, I would try bringing a more perishable item (like fruit, or a cheese platter, etc) next time, and see what happens. If it doesn't get put out, then you have confirmation that it's more of a "power grab" by the non-working group. In which case - and if the pastor isn't willing to step in - I'd stop contributing.

m2kbug

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2013, 11:14:14 PM »
I think as far as delivery to the food bank, the people who are available and don't have to be at work (or any obligations) during the specific times are going to carry the brunt of the drive time.  This is voluntary, and should be understood what their role when they sign up, but they can certainly decline if it's too much for them.  This is a division of roles.  I am happy to contribute food items and necessities, but unless this food bank is open and available to accept delivery at odd hours, I'm not the one to do the driving.

Donations are also donation of time.  My life may be to hectic to deal with the time, but I can donate in other ways.   

I think fussing over home cooked versus store bought is petty.  I do think there needs to be a level of "rules" on what is expected and some "even-ness."  I admit, if I spent my afternoon baking a casserole or if I went and spent money on something ready-made, I'd be pretty peeved when someone else plops down a couple dinner rolls or some mystery in a pan that has been in the back of the freezer for a couple years.

If you can't fullfill a certain requirement, for whatever reason, you really shouldn't sign up for it. 

Some people are going to have more time and money to work with, while others are not.  I think your church can work something out that people can contribute something useful, even if they don't have the same means as others in the group.

For the other contribution, it was not used in the manner you intended.  It got shuttle-bussed and used in a different way.  I can see your annoyance, but at least it didn't get tossed in the trash. I think I would just not contribute or be okay with the fact that the item was used and enjoyed, even if it did not get used in a way you intended.  Store-bought items are going to have a longer shelf life, and are the items that are going to be saved for later if they can't be used right away.  Home-baked and home-cooked meals, salad, vegetables, and fruits. are going to be used first since they spoil faster. 

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."

Bottom line, it seems there's way too much nit-picking going on, and I think I would just quit trying to contribute at this point as well.  I don't have a whole lot of time and money to work with.  I'm not the one who can put out best and fanciest donations.  I would like to help wherever I can, but if I'm constantly met with "not good enough," I think I'm just going to step away from this one. 

I don't think you are necessarily being petty, but there is some petty-ness happening here as a whole.  I think you need to establish your own comfort zone and be satisfied with your choices. 
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 01:37:52 AM by m2kbug »

TeamBhakta

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2013, 12:56:13 AM »
I'm reminded of the past thread where the older church ladies made a stink about brands of pancake syrup and other petty things. You're probably not supposed to lie in church  >:D, but I would start saying "Why yes, Sister Bossypants, these are homemade brownies."

GSNW

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2013, 01:50:14 AM »
The associate pastor is generally present at all meetings, and she saw no issue of store-bought goods.

Then she needs to step up and do her job in overseeing the church.  It's her job to explain to these people that they don't rule the roost and that they need to stop turning away the efforts of volunteers who are trying to help - otherwise, they're going to find that they're the only ones doing all the work.  And they're not going to like that.

An associate pastor is not there to just sit there in the background.  They are supposed to be there representing the church and helping the church function smoothly.

Totally agree with this.  Also, someone needs to point out that the mourners probably couldn't give two figs - literal or otherwise - about whether the cookies they're nibbling on at a wake are store-bought or homemade.  I've never heard anyone say, "I simply cannot believe we mourned Sally's death/celebrated Sally's life with cookies from Safeway!"

Raintree

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2013, 02:05:24 AM »
I have to say, I do see the point that some standards of quality should be met. I wouldn't expect everyone to find the time to make something from scratch, but if it's bought, it should be of decent quality (and I say this with some hesitation as all of it is volunteer, not paid work).

No idea what the OP is buying, but I'd say store-bought cookies from a bakery are preferable to a bag of Chips Ahoy (for example)  from the cookie aisle of the supermarket. No offense to anyone here who likes that brand or others like it, but to me just about anything out of the cookie aisle at the supermarket tastes like cardboard and inedible, and I'd argue that a volunteer group that is attempting to provide something like this is right to implement certain guidelines for the kinds of contributions they are looking for.

I don't agree with "has to be home made" though as not everyone has the time, and some perfectly lovely things can be bought in stores.

Margo

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2013, 07:00:58 AM »
OP, I don't think you are petty at all.

I agree that this is something which ideally needs to be brought up with the Pastor /. associate pastor.

Several PPs have pointed out that there *could* be valid reasons for store bought stuff being left over, but if the effect is that willing volunteers are being made to feel that their contributions are not valued then there is a problem. And since Op is not the only one feeling this way, it seems that there is something, whether it is the attitude of the other volunteers, he manner in which they speak about the donations or whatever, which is giving that impression.

It may well be that the people who are stting aside the dtore bought stuff genuinely think that home made is always better, that they want to give the best to people who are mourning, and that people giving will be equally happy to give to the fellowship group.
If that is the case, then having a discussion in which they are made aware that:

 - some people may prefer store-bought.
- Sometimes, familiarity can be comforting (my home made cake is much *better* than shop bought, but there are times when Mr Kipling brand French Fancies are the perfect comfort food)
- people may have concerns about home made items, particularly individuals with allergies or sensitivities, or who have other health issues)
- rejecting gifts from a willing giver is hurtful to the giver, even if there are obbjectively good reasons for that choice.
- accepting a donation for one purpose and using it for another is inappropriate unless all those giving for the first purpose are OK with the arrangement.

One option you could suggest it that there is list of what is neded (e.g. 10 platters of cookies, 5 platters of finger sandwiches) and people sign up to bring something specific. That way, there should only ever be the amount of food required for the specific event, so everything donated should be put out.



camlan

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2013, 07:17:51 AM »


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."



This is the part that really stood out for me.

It's one thing to say, "We had so much food contributed that there was a lot left over. We put the leftovers in the kitchen for Fellowship on Sunday. Thanks to all who contributed. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!"

It is another thing to say, multiple times, to multiple people, "We didn't use your food. We left it for Fellowship on Sunday." There really isn't any need to point out whose food didn't get used, unless you are trying to make a point to that person.

It looks to me as if someone is deliberately trying to make those who contribute store-bought goods feel badly. Deliberately trying to hurt those who cannot, for whatever reason, meet some arbitrary standard for their donations.

I'd start addressing this issue with the assistant pastor who sits in on the meetings. My thought is that she attends the meetings mostly to keep in touch with what is going on, and possibly to mediate if things get really rocky. Since the group was able to come up with a compromise, the "higher quality" store-bought goods, she may not realize the new problem that has cropped up. If it hasn't been mentioned in a meeting, she's probably clueless.

This kind of backstabbing behavior doesn't seem in line with the message most churches are trying to send.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


bloo

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2013, 10:14:20 AM »
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.

I don't think you're being petty, OP. We have a similar setup in our place of worship but it's not contentious at all. Gratitude is expressed for any and every donation and an attitude by a divisive group such as your 'does-not-work' would eventually having people quit the donating. The 'does-work' category would get tired of contributing with no appreciation and the 'does-not-work' would get tired of doing all the work (surely there are reasonable people in the 'does-not-work' group).

For each memorial service or for a meal schedule, usually a woman in our place of worship takes charge and contacts others for help. Specific requests are sometimes made or just request for any food. All contributions are greatly appreciated and never complained about, at least not out loud. Everyone in earshot would come down on that kind of attitude like a ton of bricks.

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2013, 10:48:16 AM »
I wouldn't ask for your contribution back. I would just stop contributing.

I'll stand over here with you, baglady.  I wouldn't contribute either. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2013, 10:59:28 AM »
When I read the OP initially, I had the same thought as Baglady, that they were using up the more perishable items first.

But given the history of the conflict over store bought and homemade and their remark that specific items were not used, I really do think this is a powerplay. And it makes me a little sad.

I think I'd send a note to the group in charge and confront it head on. "It is clear from remarks made by X that store bought items are still not welcome at these events and are being considered inferior products. The group as a whole had decided to equally accept all donations. However the groups decision is clearly being ignored. Since this group is no longer being governed by concensus rule, I will no longer be participating in donating food."

Cami

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2013, 11:03:18 AM »
OP -- I think a heads-up to the pastor would be in order. Any pastor who wants to grow the church, especially with younger people, needs to be on top of the territorialism some older "church ladies" can display which is well known to drive away new members. Churches simply cannot afford, on a financial basis, to drive away new members. On a spiritual basis, no decent pastor would want members to feel unwelcome because that is a result of un-Christian behavior.

I will note that I attended one church where the sort of situation the OP is describing was so bad and the older "church ladies" were so resistant to change (and to the new members), that after much fruitless effort, the pastor imposed a rule that there would be no more self-catered funeral receptions. We catered out, period. That lasted about 5 years and then the older "church ladies" approached the pastor and said, basically, that they had learned their lesson and would behave better. And they did.

As an aside, the problem with picking up a fruit tray is that fruit -- at least around here --  is WAY more expensive than store-bought baked goods.  As an example, we had a going-away party for a coworker. I was in charge of food. Two people who were supposed to bring a fruit tray and pan of brownies, respectively, forgot. I ran to the store. The pan of brownies that had 24 brownis in it was $8. A small bowl of fruit that would have had maybe 10 servings was $18.  So if I were purchasing for 24 servings, the brownies would have cost $8, but the fruit would have cost at least $36. Significant differential.

RebeccainGA

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #42 on: August 16, 2013, 11:43:28 AM »
We had this at our old church - it got REALLY nasty, with some 'only organic, home made, uncooked, dusted by faries' sort of restrictions being put in place at one point (and deliberately ignored by someone that brought an enormous, virulently pink iced cookie). The pastor was no help, but we got the Queen Bee of the women's group to admit that she was a snob about store bought because she was a SAHM and could just whip up something every time she wanted to contribute, and explained to her the realities of everyone else's life. It finally settled. It was WORK.

If I was you, especially if the associate pastor is proving useless, I'd talk to the pastor. If the pastor doesn't handle it, perhaps the church's board of directors. In the meantime, I'd stop contributing.

Thank heaven, our current church is much more down to earth. They feed the homeless weekly, and sell cake mix cake slices unapologetically to members every Sunday to raise money.

EMuir

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #43 on: August 16, 2013, 12:00:55 PM »
Wouldn't it be simpler to just take the storebought cookies out of the plastic and put them in your own container/bag, drop them off, and say nothing about whether you bought them or made them?  Who could tell? Assuming they're bakery cookies and not Oreos...

artk2002

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Re: Using food for designated purpose
« Reply #44 on: August 16, 2013, 05:17:55 PM »
Wouldn't it be simpler to just take the storebought cookies out of the plastic and put them in your own container/bag, drop them off, and say nothing about whether you bought them or made them?  Who could tell? Assuming they're bakery cookies and not Oreos...

Because it doesn't solve the underlying problem. That problem is that the OP's contributions are being under-appreciated because they don't meet some arbitrary standard. This isn't about cookies, it's about the stay-at-home group deliberately excluding the not-stay-at-home group. It's saying "we're special, you're not." It's also, likely "You aren't here to help during the week, so this is your punishment -- we won't use your contribution." Dollars-to-donuts, the same thing would happen if the OP repackaged some commercial cookies.
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