The Idaho Foodbank is lucky enough to have a group of dedicated volunteers who have taken an oath to help fight hunger in Idaho and have teamed up with the Foodbank to get that work done.
They’re called AmeriCorps VISTAs and they survive on a small living allowance while they work full time hours during 12 months of service.
As part of April’s celebration of volunteers for National Volunteer Month, we’re introducing you to each of the Foodbank’s volunteer VISTAs.
While her term as a VISTA with the Foodbank ends this week, she’ll be joining us again as a Summer Vista Associate with the Foodbank’s Summer Feeding Program through August.
Why did you choose to take part in the VISTA program?
“I became a VISTA because my Health Education professor in college mentioned the program in one of my classes. His daughter had been a VISTA and he talked very highly of the program. After taking a look for myself at the AmeriCorps website, I thought this program would offer me a great opportunity to get some hands-on work experience straight out of college in the health field.”
Why The Idaho Foodbank?
“In college, I knew I wanted to promote health in the community in some way. When I read the posting for the Cooking Matters position at The Idaho Foodbank, I started looking at more of the Foodbank programs and thought, ‘Wow! The Idaho Foodbank is involved in helping so many people in Idaho’ and I thought I would love to be a part of a team and organization doing so much to help the Idaho communities. The Cooking Matters position stood out the most to me because it focuses on nutrition education and I thought it was a great program for me to get some experience to help spread nutrition knowledge and skills to others.”
What have you learned?
“I have learned that there are a lot of really great people and volunteers here in Idaho who really do want to make a difference in other people’s lives. Cooking Matters is a program run by volunteers and it has blown me away at how much work people are willing to put in to helping others in their community. The same goes for all the other volunteers we have that help us at The Idaho Foodbank. Regardless if it is a weekday or a weekend, we always have people around to help out.”
What did the program change about you?
“The VISTA and Cooking Matters programs changed me in that I now know what I want to continue my education in. Before this position, I thought I may want to go into recreational therapy or health promotion. Now that my year is finishing up, I know I definitely want to get my Masters in Nutrition and Food Science. This year has really shown me that my true passion is helping others find a way to be healthier with the food choices they make. Working with Jessyca Tyler, the nutritionist for The Idaho Foodbank, has taught me about a realistic approach to eating healthy that doesn’t have to be expensive, scary or boring!”
Are you interested in becoming a VISTA like Makenzie? CLICK HERE to apply!