By Hermela Hailemeskel, BTC Student
“One in 6 people struggle with hunger, 5 in 6 can help.”
This semester, I was able to follow my passion to help end hunger. I had the opportunity to intern in the Church Relations Department of Bread for the World, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to urge decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad through advocacy. I initially learned about Bread for the World last semester in the Beyond the Classroom UNIV325 Seminar class. At the completion of the class, we had to present a research project on a social justice issue that we care about. Having always been passionate about ending hunger and poverty, I chose to research more about the preventing factors of this injustice including the organizations that were actively making a difference. During my research, I found Bread for the World to have one of the most unique and effective missions to ending hunger that I decided to seek an internship with them. I was happy to find an internship opening at Bread on Idealist.org, and even more thrilled when I found out that I had been selected for the internship.
I am currently 3 months into my internship, I am beyond amazed at how much I have learned and gained out of this experience. Right from the first day of my internship, I was assigned a project to coordinate the weekly ‘Bread for the Preacher’ newsletters that were published and sent out to the partner churches. I remember I was so excited to take leadership in this project and to be trusted to work under minimum supervision. I also had an opportunity to work at the Hunger Free Communities Summit, a conference with key related nonprofits and leaders who are collaborating and sharing ideas on ways to end hunger. I still cannot believe I was amongst America’s leading organizations that were actively making a difference in this issue. I had an opportunity to hear Joel Berg, the author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America? speak, as well as organizations like Feeding America, DC Soup Kitchen and Share Our Strength. In addition, I had various responsibilities as the Church relations Intern, ranging from researching ways to reach out to young adults to managing database of possible and current members. I also had an opportunity to deliver letters to Congressmen. Who knew you could walk right into the Senate or House and talk to Congressmen. Additionally towards the end of my internship, a few of the interns and I went to Capitol Hill where we learned about our nation’s history as well as see the new Rosa Parks statue.
as see the new Rosa Parks statue.
I learned and experienced so much through my internship at Bread. Some of which are improving my oral and written communication skills, gaining Raiser’s Edge database management skills, and being able to effectively work under minimum supervision while prioritizing and multitasking between different projects. One of the biggest lessons I learned is that networking is key to success, and building relationships and creating collaborations with related organizations is essential. In addition, I gained extensive knowledge on hunger specific issues, policies, and effective advocacy strategies. Overall, it has been an amazing experience interning at Bread. It not only gave me the opportunity to be exposed to the organization’s advocacy tactics but also provided me with the opportunity to interact with related organizations and key leaders. I am extremely grateful for Beyond the Classroom Program for encouraging and empowering me to research more about my passion to end hunger and to seek out opportunities to gain field experience.
Edited by Dr. Caitlin Haugen, Adjunct Instructor, Beyond the Classroom