SNAP Intern Prepares for Her Future
Danielle Bouda, pictured above at right, loves to interact with people and share nutrition information. This summer, she is putting her passion and skills to use as a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach intern with Second Harvest Heartland.
Through her internship, Bouda provides community outreach—an important role since only 66 percent of eligible individuals access SNAP in Minnesota. “I approach people and ask if they would like to get more information about SNAP. I describe what it is, the qualification guidelines, and offer my help to refer them to a SNAP specialist to go over the application process,” Bouda explained. “I like motivating people to use any nutrition resources they can.”
Last spring, Bouda graduated with a degree in food and nutrition from Minnesota State University, Mankato. While searching for volunteer opportunities on her school’s website, Bouda found the SNAP outreach internship, and decided to apply. “I wanted to understand how we could improve the health of my neighbors by helping them access to nutrition programs such as SNAP,” she said.
The SNAP internship has taught Bouda a lot about food assistance. “I learned that there are more nutrition resources than I could have ever thought possible,” she said. “People are not aware of most of them or are afraid to seek for help.”
Bouda knows that nutrition programs are vitally important when it comes to the health of a community. “I am originally from a country that is under the poverty line (Burkina Faso), where hunger is still a big issue,” she said. “I know well how nutrition is a key into someone's health.”
During her internship, Bouda has witnessed firsthand how food assistance can improve a person’s health and bring joy. “I love seeing the smile on people's faces after they hear about programs that can help them alleviate their food insecurities. I love seeing people happy and smiling during produce distributions, where they receive a huge variety of fresh produce.”
In the future, Bouda hopes to continue teaching people about food assistance and nutrition. This fall, she will pursue a master’s degree in community health. “My goal is to become a nutrition educator,” she shared. The SNAP outreach internship is preparing Bouda to achieve her goals. “I really gained more confidence talking to people and being understanding of their situation,” Bouda said. “This internship gave me the opportunity to learn about food banks, and, more importantly, how to fight hunger while improving the community's health.”
Learn more about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) here.