Special Blog Post by: Susan, Second Harvest Volunteer Health Ambassador
Susan has been a volunteer with Second Harvest’s Health Ambassador program since last September. She is a wife and mother of three, a former electrical technician, and soon-to-be graduate with a B.A. in nutrition, and an emphasis on education.
I’m a San Jose native and I want to go the extra mile for my neighborhood. This is where I grew up, in downtown San Jose, and it’s where I feel most comfortable. Even though my family didn’t have a lot, there was camaraderie. We always had people over and it was an open door setup. As a result, I love to cook and share. I even bring snacks to share at my college.
For six years, I had a business teaching kids healthy eating habits, mainly in recreational centers. The kids had no idea what different produce was. Things like tangerines drew a blank. This inspired me to go further, to teach kids more about nutrition. Especially with children, this is part of their foundation and, at that age, they are willing to make changes and try things.
As a Health Ambassador with Second Harvest, often I show up at food distributions and introduce myself wearing a Champions for Change apron. I hand out recipe cards, MyPlate handouts, and stickers. We often want people’s attention before the food distribution happens, so that they can focus more on learning how to prepare the foods. We try to show people how to use the foods that Second Harvest gives out so they don’t go to waste.
One memory that stands out for me: I met a lady at the Family Harvest site. She was struggling to communicate in broken English, and she shared with me that she works hard as a cleaner. The people she works for asked her to do more, but they don’t want to pay her more. I see it all the time, people struggle and they are trying to get ahead. These are moms who want to do everything for their families. They’re not showing up for a handout.
***Want to make a difference and work directly with our neighbors in need? Click here to learn about our Education and Outreach volunteer opportunities.