Volunteers are essential to the Food Bank’s mission. We could not do what we do without the boundless dedication from every volunteer. April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and we’re excited to celebrate and recognize our amazing volunteers. We cannot thank them enough for all they do year-round!
Sitara H-K is a CHOICES volunteer at the Food Bank, whose dedication is straight from the heart. Sitara first began volunteering in product recovery. She learned about other opportunities at the Food Bank and decided to become a CHOICES nutrition volunteer in 2015. Sitara has donated 120 hours of her time volunteering with the CHOICES Nutrition Education Program, assisting our nutrition team during nutrition lessons and cooking demonstrations that aim to equip our clients with the knowledge and skills to make healthy changes in their everyday lives.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a nutrition student at UT Austin. I really believe in the field a lot. Ever since I took a health and society class, I fell in love with the field and how powerful nutrition is. I graduate this coming December. I definitely want to become a dietitian, and I want to get my [RD program] internship coupled with my masters. Community and clinical nutrition are the two fields that I am most interested in. Long-term I want to become a nutritional epidemiologist and teach [as a professor].
Out of all the nonprofits, why did you choose to volunteer at the Food Bank?
So when I was younger, a lot of parents would take their kids to volunteer but I never had that. When I turned 18, it was my first volunteer experience ever. I was trying to find a place where it would feel like a family. The Food Bank was such a warm and welcoming environment. All the people who work here are all so kind and it was a right fit.
What made you want to be a CHOICES volunteer?
I wanted to become a CHOICES volunteer because I was not yet nutrition major. I just wanted to experience it first hand and see what nutrition educators and nutrition professionals do in the community. It has definitely helped me love the nutrition field even more!
What do you do as a CHOICES volunteer?
I usually help with the setup and breakdown of the classes, with the preparation of that class, which has to do with whatever the lesson is about that day. Whatever else the educator needs me to do, so they can focus more on educating the participants and help the class run more smoothly.
What has been your most memorable experience as a CHOICES volunteer?
I want to say anytime I spend time with a class, especially one with a few sessions and we hit that last class day of the series. Hearing them talk about their stories, the recipes they tried and all that they learned. It’s beautiful to see that growth. Those are always my favorite moments.
Why is it important to you to address hunger with nutrition education?
I believe nutrition education is super critical for the public because it gives people tools and resources for their own situation, and whatever barriers they may have. [Nutrition education] allows them to learn the best way to maneuver around their personal lives and make the best choices with what they know and what they have as their resources. It’s a powerful tool for anybody to have.