In high school, Holly was introduced to the problems of hunger and poverty while working in soup kitchens in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Matamoros, Mexico. Today, she is the Communications Manager for the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, doing everything she can to help spread the word about the issue of hunger around the world.
How has the face of hunger changed in the past few years?
HOLLY: People who used to support the food bank now find themselves in need of assistance. I see people who are working sometimes more than one job and still find themselves unable to make ends meet. Usually, the first thing in the budget to go is money for food.
So what challenges does the food bank face on a daily basis?
HOLLY: We are always in need of funding to help keep programs going. A lot of our budget is spent on transportation – getting food from the donors to those who need it. People can always support the food bank with a financial or food donation. But even people who can’t afford to make a financial donation can donate their time, as well as their voice through our different advocacy efforts.
What about donations through companies like Kellogg?
HOLLY: We couldn’t do the important work we do without partners like Kellogg. They not only provide thousands of pounds of food to feed hungry people, but they offer funding to help keep programs that fight hunger going. Food is a basic human need and partners like Kellogg help us provide that for people who would otherwise go without.
What else has Kellogg done to help?
HOLLY: In addition to many of their employees volunteering at our food bank, they hold an employee food drive on World Food Day which brought in 125,000 pounds of food last year. They also provide financial donations through the Kellogg Company Fund and some employees have shared their business expertise behind the scenes in our office.
What keeps you going in your job?
HOLLY: I come to work every day because of the people the food bank helps. I’m here for the single mom who is trying to juggle work, daycare and school, and provide food for her family. I’m here for the people who work two jobs and still can’t afford to get enough healthy food on their table. I’m here for the kids whose eyes light up when they get their After School Pack because they know that they will have something to eat over the weekend. I work here because I believe in what we do.
How can people help the fight against hunger?
HOLLY: There are simple things that everyone can do. If you’re able, give financially to Feeding America or a local food bank. Or you can volunteer your time at the food bank or your area soup kitchen or pantry. Give your voice to those who struggle to be heard. Advocate for hunger relief and poverty issues.
So what’s your hope for the future of the Food Bank of South Central Michigan?
HOLLY: I would love to work myself out of a job. My perfect world would be one without hunger or poverty. But while we still have those social problems, I would like to be able to help everyone who needs it – providing enough nourishment for themselves and their families.