May 11, 2013
by Laura Kujava

Laura Kujava was our Digital Communications Intern for the spring. Before she left, she shared some thoughts with us. Good Luck Laura!

During my last semester at Loyola University Chicago, I was determined to stretch my altruistic muscles and support a good cause before I entered blindly into adulthood. Unfortunately, as a college student, I didn't have the disposable monetary funds available to purchase a cup of coffee, let alone support a charity. I did, however, have the skills that I learned in my communication classes and I wanted to put them to good use.

I first heard about Feeding America (FA) through my mother who works for General Mills. She raved about the work that FA does to end hunger in America. Upon further research, I was really impressed with the mission and magnitude of FA and I knew that FA was where I wanted to get in my charitable workout. When I was offered the position of Communications Intern for the Digital Media department, I was thrilled because I knew I could make a difference, even without money to give.

My first day consisted of a meeting with Human Resources where I learned about the prevalence of hunger in America, and what FA is doing to end it. To say the least, the hunger statistics shocked me. As I look around the room I saw five faces surrounding me, statistically one of us would not know from where his next meal was coming. The other statistics rang in my ear as I walked home from work and saw a group of Kindergarteners coming home from school. One in five of those little kids with the bright back packs probably live at risk of hunger.

While still trying to digest the information at hand I began my work with the Digital Media department. One of my daily tasks was monitoring the Feeding America Facebook page. During my first few days I remember being impressed by not only the number of comments on each FA post, but also the dialogue that emerged throughout the comments. As I continued my internship, I read about heartbreaking personal stories of hunger, tales of triumph, unyielding supporters and devoted volunteers. On Facebook, I felt the passion behind the issue of hunger and witnessed how it affected so many people, hungry or not.

The passion to end hunger didn't stop online. Every day, sitting in the daily SCRUM (a rugby term affectionately assigned to the daily morning meeting) I saw how everyone in the Communications department animatedly described their tasks and the importance of Feeding America's cause. It was clear that the employees took the hunger statistics just as seriously as I did, and wanted to make a difference.

The hard work from the communications team paid off with national news and PSA's that came to fruition while I was working here. FA had a PSA featuring Savannah Guthrie of the Today show, a tweet from Justin Bieber (a huge win considering he has the most followers of ANYONE on Facebook,) along with an abundance of other media hits.

It was frightening on my first day reading the statistics on hunger in America, but what makes this data a little less horrible is remembering the people that are banning together to fight against hunger in America: all of the commenters on Facebook, the staff at Feeding America and Americans as whole. Together we can solve hunger.

Tags: Hunger in America

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