At the end of the 2016-2017 academic year my supervisor, Lydia Landrey, asked me what I wanted to do this summer to help with United Way of King County’s Summer Food Invasion. Without missing a beat, I asked to work with the Hunger Intervention Program again. After working with the HIP Team last summer as a VISTA, I was eager to work with an organization I knew I could trust to be enthusiastic about the work, their employees, and solving problems. I was thrilled when I was offered the liaison role, making me HIP’s primary connection to the United Way team and all its resources.
As liaison, I’ve been really impressed with our new staff. This summer HIP got eight resourceful, hardworking AmeriCorps VISTAs with grit. I won’t gush, but to give just a few highlights; Anders Gould, one of our returning staff, stepped up in his role to show his coworkers the ropes in that first critical week. Linna Bounxayavong and Soo Min Yi are both proactive members that have anticipated problems and kept a calm head in the more hectic moments of service. Nga Nyugen has been coming up with great ideas to move meals at her site, like sampling food, that have demonstrated success. Similarly, Kelly Bounxayavong has been engaging the kids in creative science activities that have kept their interest in the site. Last, but certainly not least Michael Savell, Miranda Pardi and Maeve McIver-Sheridan are always first to volunteer when extra hands are needed. When we lost a member of the team in the first half of the summer, Miranda and Maeve were quick to divide the bulk of the responsibility among themselves. Only because of their work, we were able to keep that site open.
So clearly we have a great group of people, but the proof is in the pudding. Last summer we were able to serve nearly 7,000 meals to kids in the Shoreline and North Seattle community. Based on those numbers HIP set a target goal of 8075 meals for 2017. As of July 30th (the half way mark) we had already served 4,475 meals. If we keep up the momentum these numbers tell us we are set to beat our summer goal by 825 meals! Clearly we are off to a great start this summer!