Thursday, February 28, 2008

Iditarod Food Drop-February 17 2008

On Sunday, February 17 we went to a warehouse near the Anchorage airport to help with the food and supplies that are delivered to each checkpoint along the Iditarod Race trail.  We started at 8:30 am and finished about 4:30 pm.  It was a long, busy day.  We met some very dedicated folks, without whom something of this magnitude could not happen.  There were a lot of volunteers who pitched in that day.

The first order of business was to unload and inventory all of the supplies and food that had been donated or purchased.
Pallets had been set up with the name of each location or checkpoint on them.  Pallets were arranged in the order that the race is run.  (This was a difficult concept for a librarian who usually puts things in ABC order!!)  By the middle of the day, though, both Doug & I could pronounce all of the names of the checkpoints.  When the race starts on March 2 and we receive reports of mushers progress on our news stations, it will seem more real to us and we will be able to picture how far along the trail they are, now that we know where the towns and checkpoints are.
Boxes had to be assembled for re-packing of food and supplies.
There is a Teacher on the Trail.  Many of the checkpoints had boxes that were to be delivered to the checkpoint and would be picked up by the Teacher when she arrived at each point.

Ready to receive our assignments......

Each team was given a list of supplies and the number that had been ordered by each checkpoint.  We then distributed the supplies according to the list.
This is one of the largest checkpoints-Nome.  It is the endpoint of the race.  They needed lots of supplies for their mushers and volunteers.  All of this stuff had to be repackaged and secured in boxes.  Once the dry goods were distributed, the cold and frozen goods were brought out and hurriedly distributed and boxed up.

Once the supplies were boxed and taped shut, they were loaded back on the pallets and labeled with their drop-off point.  They whole pallet was shrink-wrapped together.  The pallets were then returned to a refrigerated environment, waiting for the freight company to pick them up and deliver them to the checkpoints along the trail.  Most will be flown to their destinations.