Next up for our food banker spotlight is Alyssa Beil! Since this January, she has been a part of the food bank for four years now.
What do you do at the food bank?
I am the Agency Partnerships Coordinator. The main part of my role is maintaining and building our relationships with agency partners, which are nonprofit organizations that receive food from the food bank. There are two pieces to what the partnerships look like. The first is the compliance piece, making sure food is being stored and distributed safely. The second piece is examining the relationships and making sure they’re beneficial on both the agency’s end and ours. If agencies have questions, I provide resources and we also talk about ways we can build the relationships and help agencies meet their goals as it relates to the food bank.
How did you end up in this role?
I started four years ago and my role then was Agency Relations Specialist. Since then my role has evolved to include more of a community impact focus. I studied Communication and Public Advocacy in college; I was inspired to learn about how communication could facilitate change. That formed my interest in nonprofit work. I interned at the United Way in Kent County and Feeding America West Michigan was partnered with them, so when my internship was over I found an opening here. I saw that it was very community based which I loved and I was drawn to the idea of interacting with so many organizations in the area.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
A big part of my role is going out and doing site visits and seeing agencies in person and learning about their programs, and that is always my favorite part. The agencies are so inspired, driven and passionate about what they do. It’s always such a positive experience to hear them talk about what they do and how proud they are of their work. They share really impactful stories and it’s really cool to connect with them and get to see their work in action. I get to see where the food from the food bank goes to be distributed and that’s always inspiring.
Any standout memories?
Any time when I’m visiting an agency while they’re serving people and am able to see clients being served always stands out to me. Similarly, when I’m at a Mobile Food Pantry it opens my eyes and reminds me what it’s all about since I get to see clients receiving food firsthand. The first Mobile Pantry I attended was one the food bank did for Thanksgiving and it was my first experience seeing what we do in person.
What motivates you to fight hunger?
A lot of my motivation is tied back to my both my education and my previous experiences in the sense that I very much believe in the power of community and coming together to fight for something. I believe it’s a human right to have access to good food so I am inspired by the idea that as a food bank we’re coordinating these efforts to bring people together to make it happen. We hear so often from our agencies that they couldn’t do this without us and at the same time we also couldn’t do this without them, so the idea that we’re connecting this network and making an impact motives me to keep going.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have a dog, she’s a four-year-old bulldog mix, and she’s my whole world. We are usually either snuggling or taking a walk. Beyond that I love to read. My partner and I also do a lot of work on our house—it’s a fixer upper—so we always have a project going on.