Reflections From Emma Draisin, Leah’s Pantry High School Summer Intern 2016

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Though brief, my time working with Leah’s pantry has been an eye-opening and valuable experience. Through assisting in nutrition and cooking workshops for children, I learned to see the privilege of having easy access to healthy food and nutrition education in my own life. With two family practitioners as parents, I have been blessed by having healthy eating habits ingrained in my behavior from a young age. While I was previously hazily aware of my luck, assisting at workshops with children who had no help at home in eating balanced meals was heartbreaking. I saw firsthand how even a single workshop can impact these young kids.

I also assisted Leah’s Pantry with their portion of the Homebridge training, an intensive program for home-care and supportive service providers that assist the elderly and disabled. Leah’s Pantry taught trainees food safety and nutrition basics, along with how to shop and cook healthy meals on a budget. The home-care trainees left with a new confidence in their care-taking abilities and the new understanding that food could be simple, tasty, and good for you.

When I was not at workshops, I was in the office uploading new recipes to eatfresh.org and updating farmers’ market information. Though this work was not as hands-on as the workshops, I took joy in remembering the excitement and amazement of the adults at workshops when shown eatfresh.org. The website is truly unique and a wonderful resource for SRO residents or low-income Californians. I can see myself using it in the future; when I go to college I’m sure that limited kitchen recipes will be a life-saver for dorm living.

During my time at Leah’s Pantry, I was inspired and impressed with the skill, passion, and dedication of the amazing staff. The SF staff is truly a blessing - each person brings their own energy and diverse professional backgrounds into teaching, and their ability to impact and inspire all workshop participants is outstanding.

As a high school Junior, Leah’s Pantry has shown me the immense need for nutrition education, and as I look toward my own future, I know my time here will shape the path I chose. I hope to return to Leah’s Pantry in summers to come, because I believe in the mission and I have seen the impact of this organization in my community.