By Karen Obando ‘13
This spring, the APPLES Service-Learning program continues toconnect UNC students with local community organizations through its internship program. Ayla Pettry ‘13 is currently serving as an APPLES spring intern at Farmer Foodshare, a nonprofit organization dedicated to relieving hunger and malnutrition in North Carolina. By collaborating with other organizations that similarly aim to reduce the cost of fresh, local food products and increase access to these foods, Farmer Foodshare impacts many community members that are currently living with hunger and lack access to nutritious foods.
Pettry has particularly taken an active role in the Farmer Foodshare Market’s Donation Station initiative, volunteering weekly at the Eno River Farmer’s Market in Hillsborough (currently one of 11 active locations). All food and monetary donations collected are used to provide and buy local foods for communities in need.
“It’s the best part of my week. As I stand there, surrounded by the booths of a close-knit group of farmers, I never cease to be amazed by the sheer generosity of people. While many of them don’t live lives of opulence, they give what they can – and believe me, every dollar helps,” said Pettry.
On average 60 pounds of donated food is collected at Eno River Farmer’s Market and distributed to six families living in the area who lack access to adequate and nutritional foods. Pettry emphasized that the donation program has been an essential component of her internship at Farmer Foodshare, but she has also contributed her efforts to other aspects of the organization and learned about how the nonprofit operates to target these community needs.
Pettry cited the importance of the course component of the internship, which serves as a meaningful
way to reflect upon her direct service work withFarmers Foodshare. The classroom offers a forum for discussions about the issues of hunger and malnutrition, as well as other important social justice issues that other interns have encounter in their experiences with the nonprofits.
“The course provides a context for many of the social justice issues that we are dealing with in our internships. In the case of Farmer Foodshare, I have been able to come to a better understanding of the many factors that combine to allow for food poverty in America. I feel as if the academic component of my APPLES internship is a valuable addition to my experience, adding depth to the work that I do and reinforcing the positive impact that I can have on the world around me.”