This summer I had the pleasure of working for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana in Indianapolis Indiana. During my time as an intern, I took on a variety of roles that deviated from one another and allowed me to assist the community that Gleaners serves in different ways. One role that I took on as an intern was performing data analytics and research on the community Gleaners serves. Another role involved helping Gleaners with the continuation and development of projects such as the Voice of Our Neighbor Initiative and the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Furthermore, I also assisted by ranking incoming food donated based on a nutrition scale. While these roles involved more of an office setting and desk work I also took on roles that involved direct interaction with community members. These other roles were helping Gleaners nutrition department with Summer Nutrition Classes for children in the community, directly assisting individuals who came into the food pantry, and assisting community members with the SNAP registration process.
Throughout my time at Gleaners, I learned of how different aspects of food banking come together to ensure that everyone that comes looking for assistance receives said assistance. From working in an office performing research to working in the food distribution warehouse, everyone in a food bank plays a vital role to ensure that no one faces food insecurity. Furthermore, I also learned how food insecurity plays a much larger role in why communities face health problems. As someone that is pursuing a career in healthcare it is important to learn about all the factors that come into play when determining someone’s health conditions.
Most of all, during my time in Gleaners, I was astonished by their advocacy for the voices of community members whose voices may be difficult to be heard. During my time working with Gleaners I heavily interacted with Spanish speaking community members and ensured their voices were heard by translating their concerns and ensuring that when Gleaners reached out to the community they also did so in Spanish. Whether it was performing translation services or establishing a Spanish line of communication, Gleaners always wanted to be mindful and inclusive of all community members which I was proud to assist with.
Lastly, I’d like to thank Gleaners for such an amazing opportunity. I’d like to thank the Global Health Initiative, Dr. Eric Wetzel and Dr. Jill Rogers for assisting me in acquiring this position and for all their advice this summer.Furthermore, I’d like to thank Mary Dubinin for her mentorship and allowing me to be part of such an amazing organization. My appreciation also goes out to Richard Gordon for his amazing mentorship throughout my time at Gleaners. I also want to thank Sarah Wilson and Lindsey Riddick for allowing me to assist in their respective departments and exposing me to different aspects of food banking and food insecurity. Finally, I want to thank Markus Kammrath ‘16 and Sarah Estell for their hospitality and friendliness throughout my stay in Indianapolis. Without any of these people and Gleaners I would not have had such an impactful summer experience.