Friday, October 24, 2008

Napkin Etiquette

A number of years ago, a friend of mine was volunteering for another organization, helping set up for a dinner benefit. The instructions from the staff member in charge were simple enough - set out plates, napkins and silverware. A mom and her daughter were walking around with the napkins, folding them in half, while my friend followed behind them with the silverware. They were about half-way finished when the staff member came back and began chastising them for not folding the napkins properly - they were supposed to have been folded corner-to-corner.

When I share this story with staff members and volunteers at Manna on Main Street they have to laugh because it's so contrary to how we do things here. We ask our helpers to do things like they do at home. We are not so concerned with how people are fed, but that everyone is fed. So the Tuesday volunteers might have a different method of serving than the Wednesday crew, but that doesn't matter. By doing it their own way, they have a greater sense of ownership. And in the end, everyone is satisfied.

No comments: