While with Fruit For All and over the last couple of years with Food Forward, we have worked on growing and maintaining our existence in main cities such as Arcadia, Pasadena, Monrovia, etc. Since we already have a strong influence in the Western part of the San Gabriel Valley, Food Forward is looking to expand East. This summer, my involvement with Food Forward will be focused on strengthening our presence in the East San Gabriel Valley (from Arcadia to Pomona) by acquiring more volunteers and homeowners to donate to our cause. Much of the challenge is that we do not have many relations with existing organizations, nor any reference points to work from in East San Gabriel Valley. We are starting from scratch, but with the resources and help from Food Forward it is an obtainable goal.
First Day on the Job:
I was nervous walking into Food Forward for my first day of my food-recovery internship. Although this work isn’t entirely foreign to me, I still had my doubts about my ability to increase our presence in East San Gabriel Valley. Would I be an asset to the Food Forward Staff or just dead weight that they had to carry on their backs? I walked into their office and was greeted with some familiar friendly faces who I had already met my last internship two years prior and the rest of the staff. I was really excited to meet Rachael Maysels and Lillian Krovoza, both of whom I was going to be working closely with this summer. It was striking how warm and welcoming the whole staff was to me. Rachael and Lillian gave me a briefing on expectations, information about the company procedures, my area of focus, obtainable goals, and how I would achieve them. The first city I was targeting was Pomona, so I compiled a list of possible leads and made my plan of attack. That night I looked over my papers and accustomed myself to my role in the organization for the rest of the summer. It was a great beginning to the work this summer and I am extremely optimistic going forward from here.
Thank you DukeEngage for supporting my independent project of working with Food Forward to expand backyard harvesting in the San Gabriel Valley. Also, a special thank you to Dean Brownell, my mentor, for his guidance on my project and his support of fighting urban hunger. Finally, a thank you to Mr. Rick Caruso for his support in believing this project is a worthy endeavor.