Kelsi Morgan graduated from the University of Florida in May of 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kelsi decided to take a year off before heading to grad school to pursue her master’s degree in global development. She made the decision to volunteer for Americorps, and serve as the HCC Food Security Coordinator for the Food 2 Finish food solutions program.
What made you decide to apply for the Food Security Coordinator position at HCC?
I graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a specialization in international development. Food insecurity was a main topic in my global development courses, and it’s something I’m extremely passionate about. This position has allowed me to help develop an initiative that combats food insecurity and helps my community. It feels like the perfect fit!
Have your thoughts about food insecurity changed since you began this position? How so?
Taking global development courses during undergrad opened my eyes to the issues of food insecurity globally, but I was less aware of the reality of food insecurity within my community. Working with Food 2 Finish, especially during the pandemic, has shown me the overwhelming need for food services in Hillsborough County. There are countless factors that can lead someone to being food insecure, and the hardships of food insecurity can affect anyone.
Due to COVID-19 we had to move from a traditional pantry model to mobile Pop-Up Pantries, how is this working out? Do you feel some of the stigma associated with visiting a food pantry is diminished because of the pop-up pantries?
The Pop-Up Pantries are doing really well on our campuses! I believe displaying Food 2 Finish in the busiest parts of campus has helped spread awareness and normalize the use of our pantry. We’ve worked hard to create a friendly, open and COVID-safe space for students to pick up items without feeling stigmatized.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working as Food Security Coordinator, and what will you miss most about this experience?
I have always wanted to work in a career that helps others in some capacity, and this job has fueled that passion. I get immense joy from creating events where students can provide meals for themselves and their families. Seeing their gratitude for Food 2 Finish makes me feel blessed to be working to develop the initiative.
I am going to miss everyone I have worked with throughout this experience. I have such a wonderful team of HCC students, faculty, and staff that dedicate their time to help further this initiative. Working with such passionate people has made this experience enjoyable and memorable.
What is the best way for someone to support the College’s Food 2 Finish Program?
Monetary donations are crucial right now. Truly, any amount makes a difference. We are also collecting personal hygiene items for our students. Things like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and soap are in big demand. Feel free to reach out to me at 248-756-2298 or firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information about Food 2 Finish, click here.