Cicely Tutson - Development and Communications Intern
Today is my last day at Facing Hunger. It has been a fun, educational, and humbling journey. The work they do at Facing Hunger is so crucial and I only hope this organization gets bigger and even more successful.
I will be very sad to say goodbye to Facing Hunger’s staff. They welcomed me with open arms from the very first day and have been so generous sharing their knowledge and passion for the work. I want to thank Facing Hunger’s Executive Director Cynthia Kirkhart for her amazing leadership and kindness. I also want to thank all of the staff: Rachele, Susan, Sam, Chasten, Sasha, Jim, Mike, Jed, Rhonda, Johnita, and Carolyn for making this such a great experience.
Empty Bowls 2015
I’ve been a Marshall student off and on for a few years and I was aware of Empty Bowls and what a big event it is in the Huntington community. This year was my first time actually participating in Empty Bowls and it was an extremely good experience.
We had a little bit of down time before people started arriving, so we had time to look at all of the bowls and the amazing work and creativity of the ceramics students from Marshall’s art department. There were many student volunteers as well as volunteers from the Huntington community. Marshall University Interim President Gary White was even among the volunteers serving people in the soup line. I loved seeing everyone from all walks of life come together to support this event and the Food Bank.
We were really busy most of the day, with a steady flow of people buying bowls. It was fun to chat with people in the soup line and see their enthusiasm for supporting Facing Hunger. At the end of the day we were all tired, but happy that it was such a success with 1,000 bowls sold!
Now that the weather is warmer, I have started venturing out into the warehouse here at Facing Hunger. I’ve spent some time putting together bags for our Backpack Program. This is not the most glamorous task, but I think it is the most important. The mere thought of this small bag of food that I’m putting together going into the backpack of a child in need kept me motivated. It also reminded me how lucky I was as a child to never have worried about where my next meal is coming from. It’s incredibly humbling that a couple of hours of my time and a small bag with a couple of can goods and cereal could make such a huge difference in a child’s life. I’d encourage anyone with some extra time on their hands to come in and volunteer in our warehouse.
1 in 5 people in our 17-county service region face hunger on a regular basis
No matter how many times I’ve read numbers like that in the last two months, I am still stunned by them. As I’ve gotten to know the business of food banking, I’ve learned that it is a business of numbers. Numbers like 5.2 million which is how many pounds of food Facing Hunger distributed in 2014, or 1 in 4 which is how many children in this area do not know where their next meal is coming from.
Facing Hunger operates with a small number of staff. This often requires people to do things outside of their job description. On a day like today when the weather keeps some people from getting out, the staff has to pitch in and help even more. In most places of business, you would probably not see the Executive Director shoveling snow or an Accountant Director and Development Coordinator in the warehouse. This is one of the qualities that make Facing Hunger and nonprofits in general great places to work and volunteer!
It's been almost a month since starting as the Development and Communications Intern at Facing Hunger Foodbank. I was attracted to this particular internship because of the foodbank’s mission and because there are so many people in need in this area.
I knew from the moment I started that this would not be a typical internship. I’m getting the chance to learn a little bit about every job in this organization from development and fundraising to finance and distribution. The success of every job depends on the success of the other person, so it is a very collaborative culture.
The best part about this internship is the people. Everyone that works here is passionate about this organization and using their talents to help others. They’ve all been very open with sharing their experiences and knowledge with me. I’m looking forward to learning even more in the next 3 months and doing my part to help the hungry people in our region.