ADN 240 service learning hunger

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  • Pre-Experience 1. Service Learning Experience, 2. Best for Community
  • Pre-Experience 3. Hungry/Food-Insecure Demographics
  • Pre-Experience 4. Mission, 5. Helping
  • shareiowa.com
  • Service learning on community hunger? I hope I get to learn more about the prevalence of hunger in my community and what I can do about it! We have a representative democracy, so we elect representatives to various offices, including the city council, county board of supervisors, and state legislature and governor. These officials, plus their appointees to yet more boards and commissions, determine what's best for our community.
  • Post-Experience 1. Expectations, 4. Atmosphere, 5. Body Language, 7. Surprise, 8. Discomfort
  • According to Food Bank of Iowa, 1 in 8 Iowans faces hunger. Also, 1 in 5 children face hunger and 12.6% of the population are food-insecure. Feeding America says that food pantry users are mostly white, living at or below poverty, high school educated, 31% minors and 11% seniors.
  • Post-Experience 6. Site Worker's Day
  • ORDERS: •Joe S., packages Ax2 & E, $$$, 4 hours •Lacey Q., package B, $, 2 hours •Tim J., packages C & D, $$, 5 hours • Doris A., package A, $, 2 hours
  • "SHARE Iowa, Inc. brings people together to build and strengthen community through volunteer service by providing access to good, nutritious food at affordable prices." SHARE Iowa allows its customers to purchase pre-determined food packages at ~50% of the retail cost using cash or EBT. Anybody who volunteers 2 hours a month in their community is eligible. Volunteers (like me!) help operate distribution sites once each month.
  • Post-Experience 2. Skills, 3. Experience, 9. Learned
  • I expected the food packages to be pre-assembled in boxes. Instead, volunteers unload trucks and put items into client-brought containers. The atmosphere was mixed: the volunteers were all brisk smiles but the clients frequently had hunched shoulders and downcast eyes, indicating discomfort and/or shame. I felt surprised and uncomfortable at some clients' poor hygiene because it can indicate mental illness and/or homelessness; alas, we couldn't address it at this site/organization.
  • On order day, the site coordinator arrives 2 hours early to unlock and prep the site, orients volunteers to their specific task (unload truck, sort food items, set up tables, cleanup after, etc.), checks off client pick-ups, records volunteer hours, and accepts in-person orders. S/he sends orders and hours electronically to the district office in Ottumwa; the office orders the food and organizes the trucks. Many clients do their volunteering on distribution day; hours >2 are "banked" for next month.
  • I used therapeutic communication a lot, especially when a newly-divorced mother and son asked me questions. She expressed confusion about the food package options and volunteering (which is mostly on the honor system). Talking with her about SHARE and then WIC was impactful because it showed just how precarious single-parent families' situations are. I learned that I can become comfortable working with all of the SHARE clients, and as Mother Theresa once said, these need the most love.
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