Tonight I am packing my suitcase full of t-shirts, raggedy-ass pants, and one nice outfit. I'll toss in a rain jacket, some sunscreen, and a sweatshirt in case it gets cool.
Tomorrow I'll get on a plane and fly to Gulfport, Mississippi, where I'll meet up with a bunch of other coworkers to build a playground for kids in an area destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We're also going to work with Habitat for Humanity on rebuilding a house in Pascagoula.
My company sponsors these trips. I get the time off through a special volunteer leave benefit. My hotel and meals are paid for. The only out-of-pocket expense that I have is airfare -- so I do get to pay to go down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and work my ass off (if only!) for three days. But for some reason, I just have to do it. I just have to help. Simply giving money isn't quite enough, not when my company makes it so easy to actually go there and use my hands and see the results.
So off I go!