I have been in this relationship for 18 years. It started out with such a simple date; we put on our best and had lunch together. Sure, this lunch required me slaving in the kitchen and scrubbing dishes, and I even cut my finger while slicing a bagel, but I remember it with such fondness all these years later.
I was just a high schooler the first time I volunteered, and by the time I was 19, OSL and I were in a relationship. I worked side by side with Beverly, assisting her in whatever administrative work was needed: running errands, addressing envelopes, crafting annual reports, and filing away mountains of paper. The longer I was around OSL, the more I saw all the things that made this organization REAL. I began to understand, and really appreciate all of the substance that it holds beyond the pretty pictures on the brochures.
After leaving the staff to pursue my own business, I joined the Board of Directors, then became a Business Partner. Though the strength of our connection ebbed and flowed, all along the way, the relationship was still growing. I have sung on stage with Beverly in OSL Benaroya concerts, I have sold tickets to cruises, and procured A LOT of auction items. When I came back on full time staff two years ago, it was much like moving in with someone. Suddenly all of the romance is complicated with realities like filing reports (dirty socks), and grant close outs (bad snoring).
Like any good partner, I take these little things with a grain of salt, and practice gratitude every day. If I ever am feeling a little disconnected, or bogged down in the mundane land of a thousand nonprofit details, I simply walk into the kitchens. The laughing Chefs, the eager volunteers, and the smells of the wonderfully nutritious meals in the ovens, are sure to remind me that it really does take every member of this team to make this happen. I am blessed to be a member of that team. If I ever lose sight of the mission, I just call my spot in the service line at the Outdoor Meal Site, so that I can borrow a bit of the gratitude from our clients for a moment, who share it so openly, with wide smiles and sincere hearts. It’s in those moments, we all forget the drains that need cleaning, and oil that needs changing, or the paperwork that needs tackling.
I enjoy sharing the story of OSL, and meeting those that have not had the opportunity to meet that side of the organization yet. Part of me knows that I can talk until I am blue in the face as to why I LOVE OSL, but it won’t mean anything until someone actually experiences it.
OSL and I are going on a date soon, you know, to keep the romance alive. I am going to get all dressed up, and be part of the team that arranges the million-and-a-half details needed to make the date go off superbly. We are going ignore the dishes, and the reports due next week, and we are just going to sit down and focus on our dreams, and all of the amazing things that we can accomplish.
I invite you to come on date with OSL, and me, and a few hundred of our closest friends. We will put on our best, serve you, tell you how our endearing pieces fit together, and show you all of the pretty brochure-worthy pictures. We are going to fill the room with music, and invite you to be a part of the story as well.
And who knows? This might lead to something: first we will take you on a date, and maybe, down the road, you will decide that you want to move in too. There’s plenty of room at the table.
~ Kim Jones, Development Director & OSL Supporter since 1995
Please join us for our annual Luncheon on March 4th at St. Demetrios Hall.
Tickets and more information:
From the OSL Archieves: