From the Leah’s Pantry Staff: Our most recent intern from San Francisco State’s Health Promotion program was the outstanding Sydney Ortega. Below, Sydney shares her experience and gratitude for the opportunity to spend 10 weeks with our team. We at Leah’s Pantry also want to say “thank you” to Sydney for her tireless enthusiasm in representing Leah’s Pantry and EatFresh.org where ever she went. Sydney, don’t be a stranger and good luck with your next chapter in delicious (and rainy) Portland!
Prior to the start of my internship here at Leah’s Pantry, I would never have guessed how much I would grow, both as a health educator and as a person, throughout this unforgettable experience. First off, I just want to express how grateful I am to the Leah’s Pantry staff. You all took me in as one of your own and made this time not only impactful but so convivial as well. Having the opportunity to work side by side with these empowering, intelligent, passionate and bold individuals have made these short 10 weeks one of the most fulfilling and intellectually stimulating periods of time in my entire academic career.
The Health Education Department at SFSU equipped me with enough knowledge and skills to feel confident going into this summer internship. However, as I am approaching my last couple of hours at this incredible organization, I can not help but reflect on all of the new information I have gained since the start. Learning more about trauma-informed approaches for nutrition education programs was one of the many concepts I will take away with me, as it is a lens I had never thought of seeing through before. Leah’s Pantry has taught me that healthy living is not always about just eating healthy and nutritious meals, but to also enjoy the connections one has with their food and those that share it with them. I had the privilege to experience this for myself working at the “Feeding Potrero” workshop, where I prepared meals for the youth in Potrero Hill. Having the chance to see the joy that it brought children to be able to all sit down together, enjoy their meal, and play a few fun activities was something I will never forget. Creating a comfortable and enjoyable space for someone who does not always have the luxury, is so crucial in my eyes. It is heartbreaking that there are so many people who do not have the time, space, or even the funds to enjoy nutritious meals with their loved ones. Being a part of something so significant has only motivated me more to create more positive change. I want to help as many people as I can so that they can enjoy something as small as a decent meal with those they love the most.
Thank you Leah’s Pantry for broadening my scope and my humility throughout this journey. I will always remember the time I spent here and all of the tremendous assets you’ve given me. This establishment is different from any I have ever come across; it is not just a significant organization that has improved the lives of thousands, but it is also a family that continuously wonders what more they can do to help those in need. I will always treasure my time here and the irreplaceable memories I have made. I will miss you all so much!!