Delivery Week for Operation Others (O.O.) is the club’s most important week. It’s the week where all the hard work done and the donations collected over the past few months come together into many boxes to go out to many families in the community. The club has a number of different days in this week to make sure the process of packaging is smooth, so on the final day, Delivery Day, everything goes as planned.
No one needs to be told that this year, however, things have to be different. What exactly has changed then and what can students expect? What are some ways any student, in the club or not, can still help out?
For students in the club, every day of Delivery Week this year requires a sign-up. Mr. Jerry Kinney, Operation Others Director and Retreat Coordinator, as well as a World Language teacher here at Prep, tells us more about it.
“[The sign-up] will pretty much be limited to the Core Team and the club members and they will be working in shifts of no more than 20 students at a time [on any given day]. Since they will be in shifts, we can try to accommodate as many people as possible, but it will have to be limited just so everybody can be safe,” Kinney said.
Typically, days like Packaging Day are busy as the Commons are filled with Prep students and students from other Catholic high schools. However, with this sign-up, it will strictly keep the number of students together at one time in check. Any student coming from another school had to use the sign-up as well. Any drop-in volunteers, people who show up to help without signing up, in the club or not, are not allowed this year.
Due to a set limit for the number of students that can be working at one time, Kinney says that days like Packaging Day this year will likely take about three to four hours to complete, rather than the usual two hours it often takes.
Along with that, December marks the official start of winter and with that, other challenges that needed addressing before Delivery Week have come up.
Core Team member John Burns, a Junior here at Prep, talks about how the Core Team has tackled these challenges.
“Winter certainly makes it more difficult to meet. In past months, we were able to meet outside of Prep by the bell tower and hold discussions there,” Burns said “With the cold weather, that is simply not possible, so zoom meetings have been utilized to still meet with each other [to] discuss the operations of O.O.”
Prior to Delivery Week, the club usually holds a Christmas Party, where members of the Core Team and club create hand-made cards to be included in the food packages. Due to the event being cancelled this year, Burns said that Catholic grade schools around the area have volunteered to have their students make the home-made cards instead.
“The home-made cards mean everything to the people that O.O serves so it was very important that we still get them done,” Burns said.
Now with the sign-up and home-made cards, we enter Delivery Week. The first day of Delivery Week is Preparation Day, which will take place on Wednesday the 16th, after the first day of final exams for the Blue Cohort. It mainly consists of getting the space that will be used (the Commons) ready, so all of the boxes and food can be brought in the next day.
The next day, Thursday, is Set Up Day, which starts again after the Blue Cohort has finished their exams. As mentioned, this day is when everything is brought in so that for Packaging Day, everything needed is present.
The day of heavy lifting, Packaging Day, arrives on the last day of final exams this year. In previous years, you’d see row upon row of different kinds of food, each taking a specific spot in each food package. Students would work along the line to put the food in, while others moved down the line holding the bags, while still others organized the finished packages. This is why it will take longer to do this year, with the aforementioned student limit.
To finish it all off, comes the big day itself, Delivery Day. Although not able to be done this year, in years past, a Mass is usually held at 8 a.m.. For those helping to deliver, they will bring their cars to be loaded and will be given any other information they need to know. Students will either help distribute the food packages to be delivered, or will make deliveries themselves to the houses of those being served. This year it will take place on Saturday, the 19th. The delivery itself is planned to go from 9 a.m. to the early hours of the afternoon, depending on how long it takes to complete all of the deliveries.
In any other year, any student in or outside the club would be welcomed at any of these days to help. Due to the sign-up, however, students not in the club will only be able to attend the Delivery Day if they wish to help in-person. For this day, only those who are working on distribution to the cars at Prep have to use the sign-up.
“Since the majority of people involved [on Delivery Day] are actually delivering the food from their cars, social distancing and low-contact is already in place,” Burns explains. “… [The] same procedure of wearing a mask and socially distancing at all times will [still] be implemented.”
For any student not in the club but still interested in helping, Kinney says Delivery Day is the best opportunity to do so.
“I encourage them [those not in the club] to consider delivering. On the 19th, in their vehicle or the vehicle of their parents or the vehicle of their grandparents, deliver together as a family,” Kinney said.
Even though student collections at school are done, anyone who still wishes to donate money in order to contribute is welcome to do so as well. If you would like to make any, you can do so at @operationothers via Venmo, or you can write out a check to Prep for Operation Others.