We're bringing you another interview on the blog today! Watch the video to learn more about what Audrey does here at Second Harvest and learn more about food banks!
My name is Audrey Vanzant and I'm the Development Associate here at Second Harvest Food Bank.
What is your role here?
As development associate, I assist our Executive Director Tyra Jackson with fundraising efforts including sponsorships, donations, grant writing, all of that good nitty gritty, and I assist with our marketing efforts.
How long have you worked here?
Next week, next Wednesday, will be my one year [anniversary]. It will actually be my birthday; I started on my birthday one year ago.
What is your background?
I have a Bachelor's of Art from the Ohio State University in arts management. When I graduated from there in 2018, I went right into my master's degree. I have a master's in nonprofit leadership from New England College. Fresh out of my master's I was working at the Springfield Arts Council here in town. I was their festival and events manager, and I was laid off in June due to the pandemic. I knew Zac McPherson, our Program Manager at Second Harvest, and he was like, "Hey, we have this job opening up." It was actually for the Program Coordinator, I believe, something along those lines. When I applied for it, Tyra was like, "Well, I think your skills would be better for this job that we haven't posted yet," which is how I ended up here as Development Associate.
What led you to the nonprofit field?
I kind of stumbled into my major at Ohio State, the arts management major. I went in undecided. I've always been a super artsy person, so I got invested in this degree when I was at Ohio State. Probably my sophomore year, I just got super fascinated by boards of trustees and governance, and it kind of brought me to this idea of wanting to work for nonprofits. I am extremely passionate about Springfield, Ohio — it's my hometown — and wanting to give back to my community. So nonprofits and that fascination I found of boards kind of went hand in hand, and I've just progressed through that.
What is your favorite part about working here?
I have a couple favorite parts about working here. I love the impact we have. This is the first social service I've worked for, which is like its own little entity. It's really rewarding seeing the help we give people, but I really genuinely love the work environment. I couldn't get along with my coworkers better, and I absolutely love my job and I love being able to come to work every day. That's really important to me.
What's something surprising you've learned about food banks?
Something in particular to us at Second Harvest that I've found surprising is we are one of 13 food banks in Ohio, and we're actually the smallest, but we have the largest impact because of how many people we serve. So I have found that really interesting for just Second Harvest.
Food banking in general is just overall fascinating. If you don't know it and you come into this world, you think it's just as simple as people dropping off cans or food drives, and then it's just going out to the community. But it is so much more than that. There's so many community partnerships, and people involved, and such a long process to even be able to package the food to get out to the clients. I think a lot of people are just unaware, myself included before I started, of all the behind the scenes work that goes into getting the food to be able to give the community, and that is really rewarding.
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