BUZZ at the door: Filling the gaps

by Charles Akben-Marchand

As I described last month, a monthly Centretown BUZZ delivery route can be very rewarding. However, it can sometimes be a bit lonely.

For a more social experience delivering The BUZZ, you have to try a morning with the fill-in routes.

This is where three or four of us go out to deliver to the parts of Somerset Ward that don’t have a regular BUZZ carrier, or the regular carrier isn’t available for that month. This typically includes much of the area south of Gladstone, around Bronson, and a few streets sprinkled near Dundonald Park and in the Golden Triangle.

On the Friday morning after the paper comes out, one of the distribution mangers will pick me up (David or Archie, in a car whose trunk is filled with bundles of newspapers). A couple of others will already be in the car, often including Eleanor and Don.

We’ll drive to an area, pick up some papers out of the trunk, and Archie will assign each of us a block to deliver. “You’ll go up the far side of that block and come back on this side.” “You’ll go around that block and continue until you meet up with Charles.”

Archie will take another segment, timing it so that we all finish at roughly the same time. Then we get back in the car and move on to the next area.

There’s much to enjoy about this arrangement. As with my monthly route, I can see lots of places in much more detail than I would just walking by. But instead of seeing the same houses from month to month, I see many different parts of Centretown that I wouldn’t otherwise.

It’s also pretty flexible. I can choose to help with the fill-in routes one month but opt out another month when I’m busy. Some people help out for four hours starting at 8:00 a.m., whereas I can really only handle 10:00 a.m. to noon before I run out of steam.

I feel guilty sometimes when I have to stop before all the work is done, but Archie reassures me when he drops me back off at home: every hour that I help with the fill-in routes is an hour less that he’d have to do at the end of the day.

The best part is the camaraderie. There’s a satisfaction in knowing that you’re not alone delivering papers, and that you’ll get to pause for the next assignment at the end of the block.

The fill-in routes are usually finished by early afternoon, and we’ll often go out for lunch, where we can share stories, wash our hands, and replace a morning’s worth of calories!

“BUZZ at the Door” is a monthly column by Charles Akben-Marchand about being a volunteer delivering The Centretown BUZZ. To volunteer as a carrier for The BUZZ, please call 613-565-6012 or email editor@centretownbuzz.com.