On the second day of the weeklong process of assembling, packing and delivering boxes of food and toys to families in need, Tribune Ad Services Manager Carla Carda said volunteering on behalf of the Goodfellows program gave her a chance to “use muscles that I don’t normally use sitting in the office.”
She and a handful of her co-workers organized bags of fresh fruit, vegetables and a variety of canned goods into boxes Tuesday evening, a process that required a little bit of heavy lifting.
“It’s a bit of a workout, but it’s also fun,” Carda said. “This gives you an outside-of-work experience with the people you normally see at work.” Carda has been an employee of the Tribune for 24 years. She remembers helping with Goodfellows almost every year and involving her family in the process, as well.
When her sons, Jake and Joe, were younger — they are now 19 and 22, respectively — Carda would bring them along for nights of packing food and organizing toys. The youngsters would help her push carts around to count out and deposit canned goods into boxes, and Carda would teach them about the process of giving to others.
“It became kind of a teaching experience when they were little,” Carda said. “We would count out one apple, two apples, three apples. We made it into games, which was fun for us and for them.”
Carda remembers the boys goofily hauling heavy cans of fruit cocktail around and making the atmosphere fun for the Goodfellows volunteers, which traditionally have included Tribune employees as well as other community organizations. The process of packing food and gifts was a hands-on lesson in community service and gratitude for her sons, Carda said.
“When you realize the needs of others, it makes you realize how much you have and it makes you grateful. I think it was important for them to see what they might take for granted is not a given for everyone,” Carda said. “It’s still a good reminder for me.”
Carda has also brought her husband, Damian, who works for Hastings Utilities, to Goodfellows volunteering for the past several years. He was among several spouses of Tribune employees who volunteered Tuesday and will continue to give time to the Goodfellows process through Saturday.
This year, about 200 families will be served by the Goodfellows program, which has been a Tribune community outreach tradition since its inception in 1926.