I’ve just finished my first week at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma as the new Marketing Intern, and I have to admit my time so far has been a blur. Besides the introductions and playing the name game with my new co-workers, my first day centered on orientation and familiarizing myself with the daily ins and outs of the organization. Those unfamiliar with the Food Bank would likely assume the orientation was brief since many people imagine the Food Bank to be a tiny soup kitchen situated in a forgotten old building. They would, however, be wrong; a tour of the Food Bank shows the immensity of the organization and its ability to serve thousands of Oklahomans facing hunger issues each day. By the end of a tour, one wonders how such an operation is run. There’s an intricate network of people who work daily to keep the Food Bank running and most people don’t see it or even know it’s there. Early into my orientation one thing became clear: despite all the different tasks that had to be completed day after day, everyone was insanely passionate about their job.
Most of the departments were unknown to me, but despite being unfamiliar to everything happening behind the scenes, I do have a history with the Food Bank. It goes back to my teenage, pimply and awkward years – only just getting used to wearing contacts instead of my unfashionable glasses. Most of those awkward years were spent with my nose crammed into books or sitting in classrooms for hours during the school day only to return again for another beating, absorbing as much information as possible for exams. Yes, I spent most of my time nerding away as much as possible and to solidify my uncoolness, I joined the after school organization, Key Club. Admittedly, I joined not only to be with my friends, but also because I lacked the coordination and enthusiasm required for the cheerleading squad. On many weekends, instead of sleeping in or waking up to watch MTV, I drove myself to the Food Bank to volunteer for Key Club. My friends and I became very familiar with all the sights (skyscraper tall shelves filled with millions of pounds of food) and smells (to this day I can’t quite describe it) of the warehouse. I remember we would compete to see who could pack the most food the quickest or build the tallest stack of food. Perhaps they were infantile games, but they are part of my fondest memories of high school.
I volunteered here in the last year of high school and it’s odd that now, at the end of yet another milestone, the end of my college career, I find myself here yet again. This can only confirm what is probably a silly belief I hold, that all things come in circles, we always end up in the same place where we began. Not everything is the same, most of my friends are gone now, finding jobs, finding the perfect grad school, or just finding themselves. And now that I find myself here again I will hopefully create new memories, meeting new people and getting the chance to make the most of my experience at a place that does so much for everyone involved. The Food Bank has changed a little. The programs have expanded as well as the building itself and although the volunteer center is bigger, it’s still the same place – an organization dedicated to fulfilling its mission and promise to the community.
- By Connnie Lam, Marketing Intern