This week on the blog, we sat down for an interview with Catie Stewart, our Children & Senior Program Specialist. Watch the video to learn more about her and our Summer Feeding Program!
What is your role at Second Harvest?
Hello, my name is Catie Stewart. I am the Children & Senior Program Specialist here and I deal with all the senior programs, as well as the children's program we're doing right now for Summer Feeding.
How long have you worked at Second Harvest?
I started working at Second Harvest on November 9, 2020, a little bit before the pandemic was kind of wrapping up. So I got to see a little bit of the craziness and be really involved when people were really needing help, and I'm still helping out. People are still needing help but it's not as bad.
What led you to the nonprofit field?
I have always been involved with volunteering and helping the community. When I was a kid, I used to bring my hamsters over to the retirement center and have them play with my hamsters. When I was in high school, I would donate my hair, I would donate my blood. Just recently, I was in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia, helping out, teaching English, and helping out the community where I could.
What is your favorite part about working at Second Harvest?
I have two favorite parts. I really enjoy the staff. It's definitely a community effort, trying to help everybody. Whenever someone needs help, we all kind of jump in. So I really appreciate that camaraderie we have. But honestly the best part of working here is that through it all, you get out there and you distribute to these people who are in desperate need. A lot of people are coming through our lines for the very first time; they're very scared, maybe they're ashamed, they're embarrassed. It's just nice to have a friendly face saying, "Here you go, we're not judging you, we want to help you." Whether this is your first time, your second time, or beyond, we're here to help the community whenever.
Why is the Summer Feeding Program so Important?
The Summer Feeding Program allows for kids who rely on school lunches — free or reduced lunches — during the school year to have an option to eat during the summer. So we provide a bag of breakfast, lunch, weekend bags, milk, two kinds of produce, as well as some meat. Each week for kids, each breakfast has five [breakfasts] for each day of the week, and the weekend bags supplement the rest of the week. For example, this week we are handing out oranges and cauliflower, so each kid will receive eight oranges and two heads of cauliflower.
What resources are available to children during the school year?
At Second Harvest, we provide weekend bags during the school year, as well as during Summer Feeding. Those kids who get free or reduced lunch will get a bag of two breakfasts, two lunches, and some snacks to take home each week
How many kids do you serve?
We have been serving over 1,000 kids — about 1,200 — each week, equaling about 6,000 meals served [per week].
Our Summer Feeding Program schedule runs until August 20 — find the schedule here!
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