Liz is an Americorps member serving at the Spartanburg Community College Downtown Campus helping to run their food pantry for students and community members in need. For Americorps Week, we asked Liz to share a little bit about what she does as an Americorps member and why she chooses to serve.
A typical day for me serving as an Americorps member, usually isn’t typical! Some days, I get three new clients in and am busy logging them into Charity Tracker, helping them with food assistance or listening to other needs they may have. Other days, I will go an entire day only hearing from clients via email. Sometimes I have clients stop by and tell me about their day or share with me how classes are going. Other times, the pantry needs to be cleaned and organized either from food being taken out or brought in. When I am not in my office, I could be out collecting or picking up food donations, delivering donations made to our pantry from other charities who partner with us, or doing additional training with my fellow Americorps members!
Why do you serve?
A big reason why I joined AmeriCorps is that I began to feel stuck in a rut. I had been working in retail for three years and at the beginning, I had a sense of helping others find good deals, but as time progressed, I realized many people have much greater financial burdens then a “good deal” will solve. When I first read about the position, I knew I would be trained in financial coaching and given the opportunity to teach others how to budget properly. I loved that these services were being offered free to our community. However, I did not know that I would have an awesome opportunity to serve our community through organizing and operating a food pantry, which can offer immediate relief from financial hardship. Though I did not know then what I know now, I would never trade being an AmeriCorps member for anything! It is worth all of my extra time to see my clients leave feeling relieved and often times with a better demeanor than when they came in.
We serve clients every day at the SCC pantry, and I find that a huge victory! In addition, we have provided financial coaching to many of them! Another victory we have had here at the pantry is getting it fully stocked and loaded with the goods our students are in need of. Not only that, but we have two resources who will allow us multiple visits to their locations to either shop for the pantry or collect donations. This means the pantry stays stocked! However, a personal victory for me as an AmeriCorps member has beeen being able to get in my service hours. Working a part time job and going to school full time, it has be difficult to commit to 22-25 hours a week but thankfully, I found out this month that I have served over 25% of my service hours already!
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