Michael Armbruster ’20 (L) and Hunter Wakefield ’22

Michael Armbruster ’20 — As a Crooked Creek Food Pantry intern, I would like to thank Stephen Claffey, the president of the pantry, for providing this internship and Wabash College and the Global Health Initiative for offering this position as well as providing funding for this phenomenal internship. During this internship, I have really seen the face of poverty and what generational poverty can do to people. It has been an eye opener to see poverty in action nearly every day. From stocking our shelves with food that is donated or bought, to helping each person who comes in to pick out their food, to recruiting volunteers, there is much more to running a food pantry than I previously thought. For some people who come to the pantry, they do not get much human interaction and simply taking the time out of our day to talk to them and help them with their food selection means a lot to them. One specific example for me was when I helped this very elderly Spanish speaking lady pick out her food. Not only was she elderly, she was alone and did not speak any English. For me to take to the time to speak to her in Spanish and be patient with her as she looked at nearly all the food in the pantry really gave her a smile and happy day. After helping her with all the food shopping, she gave me a hug and told me “Thank you and God bless”. This shows that just having the patience to help these people means a lot to them and helping them when they might be down on their luck might just be the motivation they need. Working in this business really shows you how much people out there need help and how grateful they are to receive this kind of help as well. Another experience, as a whole, is experiencing people who have great attitudes about coming to the food pantry to shop. While most people who receive food from the pantry are grateful, some people really go above and beyond my expectations on how grateful they actually are. When people come in and have great attitudes and have fun while they are shopping really lifts themselves up but me as well. Poverty is a very tough thing to experience and living in poverty must be much worse. However, for some, attitude is much more important and them having a good attitude allows them to have a better life. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to work at the pantry and to learn and see the face of poverty in person. I have definitely grown and matured immensely from this internship.