What do you do at the food bank?
I am a Donor Relationship Manager, a fundraiser on the development team. My main goals are to build relationships with donors, get them further engaged with our mission and show our appreciation for their support. We really couldn’t do what we do without our donors and the support from our community!
How did you end up in this role?
I started at the food bank in 2018 after I graduated from Grand Valley State University. I initially decided to get my bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing. I also added nonprofit administration as my minor my junior year. When I was searching for a job, I knew I wanted to work somewhere that was committed to making a difference in the community. I saw a job posting here, and I thought it could be a good fit. Throughout my five years here, I’ve worked in various roles and departments. I started at the front desk. I also worked on the finance and agency teams for a bit. When I first started on the development team, in April of last year, I was responsible for managing our donor database, overseeing gift processing and acknowledgment and fielding all donor questions. I recently transitioned to the role of Donor Relationship Manager!
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I really like talking to our donors and hearing their support firsthand for the work that we are doing. It’s inspiring talking to so many different people that support us and hearing their unique stories and why they’re interested in supporting the food bank.
Any standout memories?
Shortly after I started, I went with a truck driver to a Mobile Food Pantry. I helped the volunteers hand out produce, and the experience really opened my eyes to seeing that hunger can affect people from all walks of life. And it breaks the stereotype you can have in your head by just seeing that it can affect anyone. Seeing the volunteers and their dedication was very inspiring too.
What motivates you to fight hunger?
Growing up my parents regularly took me and my sister to go volunteer at a soup kitchen in Detroit. Serving people who face hunger was a really powerful experience that made a lasting impact on me. People were so appreciative, and it made me realize how privileged I was to have a home-cooked meal every night. Dinner was always very important to my family because it was the only time we’d all sit down together to talk about our day. I also think about how food is so essential since it nourishes our bodies and helps people connect with each other. I think it’s unacceptable that so many people don’t have access to the food they need.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to spend time at home with my boyfriend and our three cats. I love spending time outdoors walking, hammocking and camping. I grew up on the east side of the state, so I love exploring West Michigan and going to the beaches, parks, restaurants and coffee shops. I love going to concerts, working on creative projects and spending time with my friends and family.
What is your favorite holiday meal?
I love the side dishes. They’re the best part! I like mashed potatoes, stuffing and green bean casserole.