The value in my AmeriCorps service term reaches far and wide, but I don’t think it solely lies within the skills I’ve gained or my “employability.” It’s not documented in a spreadsheet. For me, what I gained most from my time with NourishMKE is my ability to recognize and receive love, compassion, and understanding. Regardless of what was or was not accomplished during my year at the pantry, our team prioritized one thing above all else: making sure that our community is seen, heard, and loved. We pride ourselves on being a place of comfort, not just a place we serve. 

Of course we provide the necessary resources folks may need in difficult times, but what they leave with at the pantry is so much more than that. It’s not quantifiable. It can’t be tracked on an iPad or jammed into a pie chart. What our people leave with is a sense of belonging; a place where they can be themselves and feel understood. Maybe we haven’t walked the same path or lived in the same shoes, but we’ve shared small moments of joy, moments of grace and kindness, moments of true spiritual generosity. 

This is what I’ve learned most from everyone during my service year at NourishMKE; how to connect with the people I’ve served, the staff I’ve worked alongside, the community we’ve built around us. My time at the pantry cannot be measured, and cannot be summed up on paper, because it’s not finite. It doesn’t have a clear end. I will continue to hold the people of this community in my heart, and I hope my impact on them will survive long beyond my time as the Food Center Coordinator. I know I will see many of them again, many more times. Because as one of our Site Managers always says: “our people come back”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *