What My Internship Taught Me – November 3
Author: Kate Anderson
Food insecurity. It is a term we so often hear, but many of us never really understand because we are lucky.
We have never skipped a meal because we can’t afford one or questioned when we will eat again. But it’s a reality for thousands of our neighbors.
They have to make impossible choices about whether to buy medication, pay rent, keep the power on, and put gas in the car — or buy food for the week.
And while I knew that people around me were making these choices every day, I never understood it until working with Second Harvest.
I didn’t understand that many of these people were working two jobs and still couldn’t make ends meet. Or that medical issues were keeping them from working, but the public assistance they received wasn’t enough to make it through every month.
While at a Mobile Market free food distribution, I heard firsthand from Teresa that people are making these hard choices. She said that her family had to choose between “food, toilet paper or medication.” Finishing her explanation with, “It’s just really hard.”
Meeting the hardworking and strong people whom Second Harvest serves taught me more than I could ever have learned in a classroom. It has shown me what being food insecure is actually like, and it has also shown me how the people who work to end hunger try to bring self-worth back to the community they support.
The people running programs at local food banks work to make recipients feel heard and have taken the idea we all have about food banks to the next level. They don’t just hand out a block of cheese and some bread to their community members. They find ways to bring variety, choice and nutrition to the people they serve.
This dedication to providing the best experience they can to their neighbors in need means less food goes to waste, people feel like they matter, and they’re able to thrive, not just survive.
I am so grateful for the eye-opening experience I was given through my internship with Second Harvest. If you would like to help end hunger in your community, please visit: https://2-harvest.org/takeaction/.