Since the start of the holiday season, our Hunger Solution Center has welcomed over 3,000 volunteers so far! This would have been impossible without our amazing volunteer team. 6 days a week, our volunteer coordinators welcome our volunteers and prepare them for their sort and repack sessions. Recently, we were lucky to welcome a new volunteer coordinator, Cecilia Huizar! Cecilia has already made a huge impact in our organization and is a favorite of every volunteer she meets. We asked her to sit down for an interview to help you get to know her and what it’s like to be a Volunteer Coordinator!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Cecilia (she/her). I was born and raised in occupied Tongva and Chumash territory, known as the suburbs of San Fernando Valley, California. I worked in the field of conservation for the last 3 years. Throughout California and Nevada, I have worked as native plant restoration crew lead, migratory bird bander, and endangered shorebird species monitor. My last position involved restoring riparian habitat throughout King County, with spending the most time in Snoqualmie.
Why were you interested in joining Food Lifeline?
I have faced food insecurity for most of my life, and even up to the point of accepting this position. Growing up in and witnessing low-income communities that made up Los Angeles has deeply connected to mission of getting to the root cause of hunger. In 2020, I first dove into food sovereignty when I volunteered at Cottonwood Urban Farm in the San Fernando Valley. Although I was mostly involved with land tending, the purpose of that farm was to provide nutritious foods to our community. During the beginning of the pandemic, we handed out produce bags to those who could not afford them. Directly working and being a part of this community made me realize that this one of the solutions we can take to create a resilient, regenerative future.
I joined Food Lifeline to understand how current food systems work, as well as how the food banking system operates. How we can adapt to address the crashing agriculture system and future catastrophes that climate change is and will be causing. I also want to get to know our community, who do we serve and who is still falls under the cracks. I like to get to know those- our volunteers, our staff, our community- who are doing the work to help those facing food insecurity.
What is a day in the Hunger Solution Center look like for you?
For the most part, I start my morning with welcoming anywhere between 20 – 50 lovely volunteers. From then until the next afternoon session, I’m either answering emails and scheduling groups or popping in during the volunteer sessions, getting to know our volunteers.
What do you love about your job?
Without a doubt, knowing and seeing the amount of people who care for those that are facing food insecurity. And of course, getting to know so many of these wonderful people.
Tell me how people react when they see the scale and volume of what we do
Amazement. I’d say come see their faces for yourself! It is priceless in a way that only a face can describe.
What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering in our warehouse?
You will have a great time! Our Production Team, including our dedicated Production Corps members, make it so much fun. Your time volunteering with us makes a huge impact and the 2 hours you spend with us will directly help all our communities throughout Western Washington. We solely rely on our volunteers to sort all the food which makes distributing well over 280,000 meals per day of distribution possible. I’d say come and find out your direct impact.
What are your interests outside of work?
I spend majority of my free time cooking, working in my garden, and composting (I swear it’s a hobby). I recently got into rock climbing, but I am also into hiking-camping-backpacking and snowshoeing
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I encourage everyone who is reading this to please check out protectthackerpass.org. A proposed open pit mine is set to desecrate Thacker Pass/ Pee Hee Mu’huh. My time working in Nevada steppe ecosystem open my eyes to its beauty. Nevada is not a wasteland; it is a beautiful, diverse ancient sagebrush forest.
Interested in joining us for a volunteer session? Sign-up using the link here!