This summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern with the Bucks County Opportunity Council as the Kid’s Lunch Box Coordinator. Since a young age, I have had a passion for food, nutrition, and the difference it can make in people’s lives. Immigrating from Ukraine to the United States at six-years old with my parents was the start of my journey in becoming aware of food insecurity, specifically because I was able to experience firsthand what it means to be food insecure.
Currently I am a senior nutrition-major attending Lasalle University. When asked why I decided to major in a field such as nutrition, I don’t have just one answer but multiple things that I experienced throughout my life that brought me to such a decision. One of them being my own personal food insecurity experience. When I learned that there was a career field such as nutrition, that valued the difference that food can make, I knew I wanted to be part of such a field. This summer position was a perfect stepping stone and opportunity for me to learn more about my field and to serve the community that once served my family and me.
My experience interning with BCOC was more than I could’ve imagined, and while I am sad to see it come to an end, I am so grateful for everything that it has taught me. One of my biggest takeaways was the enormous need in our community. Residing in Bucks County, the assumption is that few families are in need of assistance, especially food assistance. However, this experience taught me that is not the case. This was proven to me during one of our Free Mobile Markets, where we served over two-hundred households, just during that one hour!
Throughout the summer I became more and more aware of the importance of our actions and the power that each and every single person has to make a change. I was so impressed by all the hard work done by the staff at BCOC and the volunteers that give their time daily to take part in this initiative. I met and interacted with many people throughout the community, from pantry managers to different partners to weekly volunteers, and I was very impressed and honored to live in a community that is so dedicated and humbled to serve each other. And doing so, with a smile and laughter on their face.
From this internship, I have gained a new confidence, passion, and desire to continue my education in nutrition, so that one day hopefully I can be part of a team such as Bucks County Opportunity Council that works with the purpose to make a difference in people’s lives.