Several weeks ago, I could not have imagined that I would learn so much while interning at the Capital Area Food Bank. It was impressive for me to experience all the work that goes into running such an expansive organization and all of the bolts and screws that hold everything together. From stocking and sorting food in the distribution center to sitting in on strategic meetings and everything in between, I was blown away at how at every level, people worked so well with one another to achieve a common goal.
There were many takeaways from my internship. I learned how important it is to work in a positive environment and surround oneself with optimistic thinkers. Every day, I was refreshed by the energy and drive demonstrated by the staff. Additionally, I was impressed by the receptiveness of the staff regarding our ideas. It was very exciting to see abstract ideas (my own, and those of others) come to fruition, especially the Neighborhood Captains project. Seeing all of our hard work displayed on fliers and the website was very rewarding.
“Hard work pays off” is an expression that I have heard multiple times, but one that took on a new meaning after my internship. Performing tasks that at times seemed unsuccessful, such as making 75 calls to partner agencies requesting their distribution reports, often seemed ineffective. I learned, however, that the time and effort spent on jobs like these are what make the food bank run as smoothly as it does.
Perhaps the most valuable thing that the CAFB did for me was to instill a sense of hope in the future. Hunger is such a large issue which at times can seem impossible to solve. After interning for five weeks, I can truthfully say that I believe hunger can be eradicated in the Washington metro area. Through direct outreach programs and going into neighborhoods, I was immediately able to see how receptive the public was to the food bank and how passionate people felt about helping their neighbors in need.
It is said that together, people can achieve great things. I cannot think of a greater cause being solved by a greater family. I am truly thankful for my time at the food bank and all the lessons I will surely retain for life.