The AmeriCorps VISTA program has been at the forefront of the struggle to end poverty in the U.S. for over 50 years. Over the course of FRAC’s history, AmeriCorps VISTA Members have made important contributions towards our mission to end hunger. As we look toward 2017, we have asked our current VISTA Members to share their experiences and goals in the fight against hunger and poverty.
This is part two of a three-part installment on getting to know Anti-Hunger AmeriCorps VISTA Members at FRAC.
Originally from the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN, Krista graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2016, with a degree in dietetics and a certificate in global health. During college, she was passionate about serving homeless and low-income individuals through volunteer outreach and service.
Additionally, Krista cares about bringing people together through food. As an intern for Slow Food, she worked with farmers to procure food, and with local chefs to produce a weekly affordable meal for college students and staff.
Read on to learn more about Krista’s work as an anti-hunger advocate for D.C. Hunger Solutions (DCHS).
How did you get involved in the fight against hunger?
In college, I studied food-related chronic disease and co-morbidities in a clinical setting. I found the relationship between poverty, food insecurity, social welfare, and chronic disease incredibly fascinating. After graduation, I accepted the Anti-Hunger VISTA position at DCHS because it directly aligned with my philosophy of promoting long-term solutions to end hunger and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
What do you do in your position at DCHS?
Currently, I am working on improving benefits access for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and reducing barriers to participation. Because certain communities are more vulnerable than others, our efforts are focused on targeted populations: low-income wage earners, seniors, and individuals with limited English proficiency.
What are your goals as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member?
I am hoping to enhance the capacity of DCHS and increase access to SNAP for as many eligible recipients as possible. Additionally, I want to identify and address the often hidden barriers that many D.C. residents face when applying for public benefits, such as lack of transportation or the absence of full- service grocery stores in their neighborhoods.
What are you learning at DCHS that will prepare you for future work on anti-hunger efforts?
Working with DCHS and FRAC has been an invaluable experience for me so far. My work has already enhanced my ability to translate policy into practice in meaningful ways through my interactions with SNAP benefit recipients.
How will you continue to fight hunger after your time as a VISTA Member has ends?
I would like to continue to advocate for federal nutrition programs. I plan to pursue my master’s degree in public policy and leverage that for my anti-hunger work moving forward. Through further education and experience, I want to find creative solutions to ending hunger in the U.S.