Reflections from James Wang, a Summer Intern from San Francisco State

From Leah's Pantry Staff: James, we are sad to see you go! Thank you for your dedication, hard work, and positive energy over the past few months. Please stay in touch!

The City of San Francisco is a beautiful and broken city, filled with many different kinds of people that make up what it is today. One thing I have learned to appreciate through this internship is the recognition of the good things in contrast to the not-so-good things. Everywhere I go there seems to be similar problems in regards to the population’s health and the lack of resources and education. Leah’s Pantry recognizes this important need, and provides communities with the tools necessary to bring awareness to these health issues and formulate simple yet powerful ways to eat fresh and eat smart.

I have been blessed to work with all of the staff members of Leah’s Pantry and see the kind of work that they do. Sites such as the Boys and Girls Clubs that are scattered throughout San Francisco have centers for kids to spend their time being looked-after by caretakers and volunteers while school is out for the summer. Leah’s Pantry workshops teach these kids healthy recipes, as well as provide information about the importance of eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables to build stronger bodies and live healthier lives. The beautiful thing about this is that Leah’s Pantry doesn’t just provide ingredients to eat for a day, but tools and information to eat for a lifetime; information that is meant to be shared with everybody so the entire family can benefit from the child’s learning experience.

In the office I have helped develop curricula used in the workshops, like simple food passports for kids to write and draw descriptions of what they eat. I have noticed how much these kids enjoy putting thoughts onto paper as they learn about the different smells, tastes, and even sounds that are created when consuming different kinds of foods. It brings me a lot of joy to know that the work I put in the office is beneficial to enriching the lives of these communities and hopefully inspiring another individual to make a change in their health.

What does this internship mean to me? How does this apply to my own daily life? Watching all of the staff members practicing what they teach has caused me to be more mindful of my own health. Some of my favorite recipes in the Food Smarts recipe book, like the black bean and corn salad have become staples in my life. It feels great to know that even I can benefit and improve my health from the things I learn.

Leah’s Pantry is a hidden jewel of San Francisco, and the service they provide for the City is immensely valuable. I encourage those to give organizations like these more support, as they help inspire the communities of San Francisco and provide them with tools to eating healthier.