Saturday, October 9, 2010

That's A Spicy Meatball!

As some may know, I am dedicated my free time and a day off work this week to volunteering at the 2010 Food Network Wine and Food Festival as a Team Leader. Thursday was a full day of food festival fun, beginning at noon with a trip down to the Grand Tasting tent where I would later return for my team leader assignment. The tent looked spectacular and, as expected, filled me with great pride and appreciation having worked so hard on Monday to make make the set-up possible.

With four hours before my commitment, the outstanding team from the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength sent me to the Meatball Madness event, assisting with delivery and set-up for the evening's event. I worked with a collection of retirees, culinary volunteers, temps and college students, all happy to be part of the festival in a helping capacity. I won't lie - there was nothing glamorous about this job. There rarely ever is anything glamorous about event volunteering. But I came away impressed with the graciousness and enthusiastic appreciation that we saw from the visiting general managers and chefs (executive and low level) for our swift attention to their product. Warm fuzzies all around. And, I can't neglect to mention just how wonderful the food smelled. How I wish I could have stayed for the event.

I had to leave just as things were getting busy, returning to the Grand Tasting tent for a walk-through and brief conference with the volunteer coordinators before meeting my volunteer team. The volunteers were phenomenal! Patient when we were between tasks, good humor about the physical aspect of our job, and full of good will. I felt so lucky to work with them. One volunteer even ventured to Chelsea Pier on a food run for the evening security guard, dedicated to protecting his post but regretting his lack of food for the evening. What a decent thing to do.

Sunday is my big day, serving as team leader of between 30-50 volunteers at the high profile Carts in the Parc event, featuring host Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel.

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