I’ll be the first to admit that I was ignorant about hunger issues before interning at the Capital Area Food Bank. I realized that there was a poverty issue in our country, but I never thought that families had to sacrifice going without food, especially healthy food. When hearing that one in six people and one in three children suffer from hunger in the Washington metro area, I immediately started to think about my friend’s birthday party at The Cheesecake Factory two years ago. We could only eat half of our meals and wasted perfectly good food because the people in my small community take our three meals a day for granted, when just miles away, people are going to sleep with their stomachs empty. Hunger is an issue that people don’t want to talk about, since in our great country, we want to stay in the dark about an issue that we know should be eradicated by now.
Being a young adult who aspires to be a woman of action, I loved witnessing all of the results that came from the hard work at the CAFB. It was an incredible experience to be in an environment where everyone thoroughly enjoyed their work and the impact they made. Working at the food bank taught me that working together is necessary for anything to be accomplished. Volunteering in the food distribution center opened my eyes to how much work goes into providing meals for residents in D.C., Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia. Working on the farm was humbling and made me appreciate the hard and diligent work that goes into ensuring all residents have access to fruits and vegetables. The Capital Area Food Bank is truly taking the hunger crisis by the reigns and doing everything it can to help those in need.
My experience this summer at the food bank will positively impact my senior year in high school and future in college, and has helped me realize that although I am seventeen-years-old, I have the capacity to help make a difference. The sheer fact that last year the food bank distributed 45 million pounds of food, of which 17.5 million was fresh produce, amazes me and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of an organization that does so much good.
Being a senior brings a contradiction of emotions and experiences – you’re sad to leave high school, but you’re excited to go to college. You’re anxious about the future ahead, but can’t wait to be older. You hear about how fun the year will be, yet you’re swamped with college applications and AP classes. Above all, senior year is the time to explore your options in life. Entering my last year of high school with this internship under my belt has taught me invaluable lessons that I could only learn in an environment like the Capital Area Food Bank, and it has been an unforgettable five weeks for which I am very grateful.