Reflecting on My Time as an AmeriCorps VISTA at VF

Reflection of Foodbank logo and gleaner in field.

This post is written by Luna Collins, who is currently serving with The Vermont Foodbank this year as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Growing, cooking, sharing, and eating food are among her favorite activities—especially when they create opportunities to bring people together. For those reasons and because she hopes to promote equity and community resilience through her work, Luna studied sustainable and just food systems education at Green Mountain College and soon found her way into her current role at the Vermont Foodbank. As Outreach Systems Specialist, she is working on capacity-building projects to support the 3SVT outreach team in their effort to connect more people in southern VT to food assistance.

I always keep a realistic attitude about any new position I go into. When I became a part of the VT Foodbank, I wasn’t sure what circumstances I would encounter, but I was prepared for anything. Being a realist, I’m not one to gush, but I can genuinely say that serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA alongside VT Foodbank staff has been an absolute honor for me.

My primary role has been to support the 3SquaresVT Outreach Team in developing partnerships, tools, and systems to increase our outreach and to connect more people in Vermont to food resources. Being surrounded by extraordinary teammates and role models is what has made this experience so rewarding for me.

VT Foodbank staff members from all departments are whole-heartedly dedicated to their work. They inspire others with their wisdom and have guided me as I navigate this role.

My supervisor is empathetic, wise, level-headed, and compassionate. Through working with her, I’ve learned to approach changes and challenges with curiosity. If you have the good fortune to work with her, you’ll discover that in addition to these outstanding qualities, she is also quite humorous. (I have a secret goal of developing my own comic side during my VISTA term, so I truly lucked out!)

I’ve also had the benefit of working closely with another outstanding teammate, who has taught me a great deal. With her enthusiasm, commitment, and impressive ability to relate to almost anyone, she has shown me how to keep things light when that’s what’s needed.

The fact that I have been based in Brattleboro has also given me the chance to connect with the operations staff. This has been a huge bonus, not only because I have been able to better understand this side of the food banking process, but also because I’ve been given the opportunity to learn to use a forklift, taste delicious home-made sauces, and enjoy great conversations.

During my term at VT Foodbank, I’ve been given opportunities to stretch my own abilities, gain the confidence to try new ideas, and have been given the necessary guidance from my team members to feel prepared to do so. The worry I used to feel (too much) around making mistakes has been replaced by an understanding that no one knows everything, everyone knows something, and together we know a lot.

I could go on for pages highlighting each individual staff member I’ve gotten to know, but you should really meet them yourself! If you are interested in supporting a superstar team, making a positive impact, and developing professionally, I highly recommend serving with the Vermont Foodbank.

To view current AmeriCorps VISTA openings at the Vermont Foodbank, please visit our Current Openings page.