My husband and I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with One Brick Chicago and in the words of my 5-year-old nephew, it was “totally awesome”.  Don’t get me wrong, it was hard work. The job options were weeding, tire relocation (for lining a small garden) and painting. I generally take on the job of painting, therefore I do it pretty often, therefore I am pretty good at it. The task in this instance was to paint the front of a 20ft metal storage hanger with the runniest, stinkiest silver aluminum paint I’ve ever come across in my life.  However it was for a good cause, we were there to help an animal shelter called Love Your Pet and it was only going take about an hour as one of the other volunteers would be painting with me.

Well… 3 hours later and we were still at it. Needless to say my cohort and I had seriously under estimated the time it would take to complete the job. She and I also found it necessary to recruit another volunteer of the taller male… “sure no problem, I love to climb ladders” variety (the husband was skillfully hiding in another part of the facility).  All told, it took 3 hours and 45 minutes and 3 1/2 volunteers to complete (the husband was forced to momentarily pitch in despite his many protests)  and the owner of the shelter didn’t seem to mind the flood of paint on the ground below… I’m telling you this paint was runny!!!

When we were finally finished, the owner Julie treated us to some fantastic homemade sangria made with red wine, orange juice and ginger ale.  I never would have guessed it, but it was either pretty delicious or I was extremely thirsty! To round out the day, the entire gang, including the pups in residence, headed down to Domenzo’s  Pizza for some serious noshing on slices as bigger than my face. Who knew volunteering could be this much fun, not to mention easy?

I’ve got to hand it to the folks at One Brick, they really make it simple, you just go to their website, register, check the calendar for a gig that sounds interesting and RSVP. When the day arrives, you just show up ready to work. That’s it! No long-term commitments. One Brick hosts local volunteer events in Chicago, DC, Minn/St Paul, New York City, Seattle and San Francisco and has also been known to organize periodic volunteer trips to New Orleans.

Also if you are in the Chicago area, be sure to check out Julie and the lovable puppies at Love Your Pet.   She unselfishly runs that place all on her own and is always in need of volunteers and foster parents to help out while the dogs are waiting to be adopted.  And if you are strapped for time but loaded with cash, no worries both Love Your Pet and One Brick will graciously accept your cash donations.