Energized to End Hunger
Volunteering at her local food shelf, Rae Wood always thought of the day the food was delivered as a bit magical. One minute, the shelves and coolers were nearly bare. The next minute — poof! — the shelves and coolers were fully stocked. Of course, in reality, Rae knew it was not magic that was responsible for stocking the shelves with food. Yet, she also didn’t quite understand the complexity of the system — until she began interning at Second Harvest Heartland.
Rae chose an internship with the Agency Relations team of Second Harvest Heartland — a job that would offer her a bird’s-eye view of exactly how the food distribution pipeline works.
“As someone who has volunteered in the basic needs sector, I loved learning about the complex web of organizations and hardworking individuals that help make good things happen,” she said. “A great deal goes into getting food where it needs to be. The kindness and passion of everyone at Second Harvest Heartland energizes me and makes me want to do more to end hunger.”
Rae is currently learning everything there is to know about Second Harvest Heartland’s Fresh Produce Distribution Program. Nearly 100 of the agency partners Second Harvest Heartland works with have produce distributions as part of their normal operations. But many don’t have the volunteer and other resources to run such large-scale distributions on their own. Through the Fresh Produce Distribution Partnership, Second Harvest Heartland works with local food partners to increase the amount of fresh produce individuals and families have access to. There are 18 of these fresh produce distribution sites in the metro area this season. Rae hopes to visit at least half of them over the course of her internship to learn first-hand how fresh produce impacts communities. “It’s an amazing experience to connect with agency partners, volunteers and community members to see how people come and connect over fresh food,” she said. “I get to hear people’s stories and take photos and learn about the community partnerships that make the distributions successful.”
Rae came to the internship opportunity through her volunteer work at the food shelf affiliated with her church. There, she saw how food insecurity affected her friends and neighbors. It’s why she’s so passionate about finding ways to combat both food waste and the problem of hunger.
“Having readily available resources to combat food insecurity has helped my friends and neighbors keep some of the anxiety they feel about the future at bay,” she said. “Creating welcoming, stigma-free spaces to access those resources helps everyone do better.”
Find a Volunteer Opportunity Near You
Looking for an opportunity to make a difference and connect with your neighbors? Volunteers help set up the distribution, sort food, greet clients as they arrive and distribute food. Instructions and training are provided on site. If you’re interested in volunteering, it’s quick and easy to schedule a shift online. Visit our volunteer calendar and sign up.
If you need help with food, visit us online to find a local produce distribution or food shelf.