The Rubicon Rangers: Shipment Shakeup
The "Rubicon Rangers" series is a first-person account of Rubicon's intern experience, authored by the interns, Jessica, Sandy and Justin, themselves.
The brisk air welcomed my face outside. The sky was overcast, and the temperature was lower than I had anticipated.
"Hopefully it'll warm up. It's only just the morning," I said to Sandy, who had remarked on the gloomy weather.
Luckily, we were not outside for long. The brief walk from the Bissell Office to 101 Broadway led us to warm greetings from Rubicon's mentors in the lobby.
We continued past them, where we spotted participants attending workshops and impact coaches working with people.
Finally, we turned the corner and saw the comedic posters that decorate Delia's door.
Over the past five weeks, the Rubicon Rangers have grown comfortable in our quarters. Familiar faces invite us in and make us feel at home. Delia, the point person and mother of the closet, is one of the people to whom we have grown closest.
She turned to us and smiled, acknowledging us, asking questions, and taking interest in our lives.
After a few moments, she handed me the keys to the closet and looked me in the eyes. She announced, "the new shipment came in on Tuesday. I went to see it, and it is big."
We were soon learned that big was an understatement.
In true Rubiconian fashion, the beautiful mess of clothes within welcomed us. Two previously empty racks were now filled with suits. We turned slightly to the right to see the clothes that did not make it to the rack. Bright blue plastic wrapped bundles of suits, pants, and various blazers. Two piles of clothes sprawled across the open floor. A few button-down shirts, also wrapped in plastic, peeked through. Behind the blue mounds were three stacks of boxes.
Unsure where to start, I looked around until spotting two shopping bags filled with shoes. Justin, Sandy and I started by organizing our smaller more manageable donation of shoes.
As I grabbed one shoe and found its matching pair, I began to organize the stock by size.
At Wardrobe for Opportunity, we learned to mark sizes on round office labels and to stick the seal on the back of the shoe. Most shoes have the size marked within the build, whether on the tongue, the sole, or the side.
As I got into the tedious task of sizing shoes, Sandy worked on the rest of the room.
Later, I turned around to see one of the racks formerly occupied by suits had been transformed. Now, it solely carried collared shirts. Our stock of men's button-downs went from 15 pieces to a full rack.
As the day went on, we discovered more hidden treasures. We uncovered bags of ties under one pile, and unboxed packages of womenswear, including bunches of light and silky scarves, under another one.
The generous extravagance of a donation of designer suits and professional attire delighted us. We were excited to be able to supply Rubicon's participants with such beautiful clothes.
We faced one big issue though: we did not have enough racks for the clothes, and we were anticipating two more shipments, one on August 7th, and another on August 14th.
For weeks, we had been longing for a larger supply. Giving up slightly outdated items seemed wasteful when the closet was meager. But now, we had the opposite problem.
The new shipment was bittersweet, as we realized the limitations of our project, both temporal and spatial. We have only so much time and so much space to store all of these great things.
By the end of the day, we made visible progress: only one pile and a few boxes remained. The rest of the suits, pants, and blazers had been sorted. All the shoes were organized, and we were able to re-sort shirts and all the women's apparel.
Yet the newfound uncertainty in our project plan remained. If we cannot find another space, the proposed fitting room may devolve into a storage room as donations stack up.
The shipment may have disrupted our original, smaller plan, but we are still happy to welcome these valuable clothes into our closet.
The rangers will just have to figure out how to make do in the coming weeks.