“Uh, Laura? This is Donation Booth A. Umm…… Someone just threw up on the donation booth. They’re gone but their lunch is still here.”
That is a true quote from one of my volunteers. I was in a portapotty when the call came over the radio. It was a pretty raucous show and Donation Booth A won a volunteer purple heart for going way above and beyond the line of duty.
Seriously though, every year anywhere from 60 to 160 people donate their time and travel to come work at the show- and not to hang with celebrities and eat the good food- our volunteers work hard and we love them for it. In fact, the volunteers make it possible to produce the show as inexpensively as possible, meaning more money goes towards programs that keep family farmers on their land, growing delicious food for you and me.
Volunteers come from all over the country and many of them have been doing it for years. Some families use Farm Aid as an excuse for a vacation. Others have Farm Aid romances that spark up every year once their shifts are over (yes, that’s right, I saw you two behind the trailer last year!) and others are just plain die-hards.
This time of year, I pour over spreadsheets merging my list of jobs–from catering to donation booths, volunteers all over the concert operation– and my list of who is coming. It is like a giant puzzle. I try to keep in mind families wanting to stick together, people’s strengths and their past concert experiences in order to create a schedule that will make the day run smoothly and be fun for everyone.
If you see a Farm Aid volunteer working at this year’s show, stop and say hello. Thank them for their hard work. I bet it will make their day!