Orgill Habitat Restore Volunteer Day

Tocci Stock

Tocci Team:  John Tocci, Lila Tocci, Laura Handler, Lorrie Guthrie, Kristin Tomlinson, Tim Tocci, and Andrea Ning (friend)

Last Saturday Hairlosstreament joined Habitat for Humanity Boston at the Convention Center.  Our task was to help Habitat pack donated home goods from the Orgill Marketplace.

We learned new skills like jumping out of the way of fork lifts, rescuing boxes from passing dumpsters, and twisting shrink wrap to get a nice tight pallet.

First we needed security clearance.  Entering the back side of the building we lined up with tattooed Teamsters showing up for work. We got our badges and took a long walk along the length of the building past loading docks and dumpsters to join other Habitat ReStore volunteers.

Between instructions fleets of food service carts clattered past, a pause, then trash bins and dumpsters rolled through in formation. But we got our optic yellow t shirts and general directions to be “careful, quick, courteous.”

The scope—

Lorrie:  “I entered the conference center at 2:30 PM, and was completely overwhelmed with all the STUFF.  I experienced a “Carl Sagan” moment, looking at billions and billions of things that would need packing. How?”

John Tocci:  “Imagine the enormity–600,000 sf convention center trade show (11 football fields); the sheer density of the retail displays (equal to six Costco’s); and overwhelming waste of left over product, equipment and display infrastructure.”

Nevertheless, armed with floor map and assignment, we entered the convention floor to begin packing. Vast, bright, cold and hectic, it was crowded with vendors and buff union guys rolling wide swaths of carpeting; fork lifts scooping then stacking the rolls.

Lorrie: “We attacked with energy, like storm troopers scouting our assigned area to secure items before they grew legs and walked off.”

John hunted down pallets and a hand truck. (which grew legs)

We boxed boxable items, stacked the boxes on pallets and shrink wrapped the pallets. Items that defied boxing, like carpets, shelving and long racks, we up-ended, supported then wrapped.

Laura took charge of labeling to make sure donors were properly recognized.

Hyper-focused on the work, we suddenly realized the change in atmosphere: with the AC off hot humid air blew in from the loading docks. Vendors were gone, the lights dimmed–only the intensity of the fork lifts increased as they sped up and down the main aisles horns beeping. Plenty of ReStore packing remained. A few hold out vendors conceded: tired of the place and their efforts they signed over product to Habitat.

Lorrie: “The Tocci team talked, planned and tackled, shrink wrapping each pallet to within an inch of its life. A shout out for Tim Tocci, wrapper extraordinaire.  So efficient, we were rewarded with more jobs.”

Just before 10:30 the Tocci team left, dirty and exhausted, but with the sense of accomplishment that comes to those who conquer.  We wrestled the unwieldy task to the ground and loaded nine pallets with items ranging from caulking to Closet Maid.

John:  “I was thrilled to “harvest” or glean the fields and work with vendors to take new, useful product off their hands–working with our strong, focused and (seemingly) tireless team in a labor of love.   Redeeming waste, we converted it to the great advantage of the poor and God’s purposes on this planet.   Very, very cool.”

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