Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: Nicole Kathman

July 23, 2013 By: Kaia Arthur, Volunteer Coordinator Category: WordPress Import

During the summer months, farmers markets are a crucial source of fresh food for our hungry neighbors. That’s why Second Harvest Heartland’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) has enlisted the help of three interns to distribute farmers’ market coupons to seniors. As one of the interns, Nicole Kathman helps clients collect their coupons at the Maplewood drive-thru and various other CSFP distribution sites.

Nicole saw her internship with Second Harvest Heartland as a valuable way to gain hands-on experience at a nonprofit and to clarify her own career goals before graduating this December from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. In addition to the 20 hours she spends working with seniors in her Second Harvest Heartland internship, Nicole also interns at the City of St. Paul in the Mayor’s office.

“I wanted to compare a nonprofit experience with one in government, to see where I fit in,” Nicole said.
Her internship at Second Harvest Heartland will also give her experience with a state-run program, as Second Harvest Heartland partners with the Minnesota state government to administer the federal CSFP and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

Year round, CSFP provides a monthly box of nutritious food to more than 8,000 income-eligible seniors, almost 2,000 of whom pick up their food box at the Maplewood drive-thru each month. The SFMNP will provide 5,000 of these seniors with four $5 coupons to purchase fruits and vegetables at approved farmers markets.
“It’s cool see to how the program works off-site,” Nicole said. “This program takes so much coordination and communication with the clients and site leaders. It’s really impressive.”

So far, Nicole estimates that she has interacted with 500 of these participants at the Maplewood drive-thru and various CSFP distribution sites. By July 31, the CSFP department, Nicole and her fellow interns will have distributed all 5,000 coupons.

Thanks to Nicole and all of our interns and volunteers for your work in helping our neighbors in need!

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