Melinda – My VM Story – Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry

Melinda is our youngest AmeriCorps Members to serve this year at just 18 years old, but don’t let age lead you to believe that she’s not already making an impact in Calvert County!

“I’m an animal loving vegan, and absolutely obsessed with my little poodle. Faith is very important to me, I was baptized this summer with one of my best friends and consider it to be one of the greatest life choices I’ve ever made. I’m quite young and relatively without much life experience, but I’ve been through a few traumas and what I feel is my greatest accomplishment is persevering through things that very easily could’ve pushed me down a different path- I’m a big fan of “beating the odds”.

Before I even knew what Volunteer Maryland was, my service site (Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry) reached out to me about possibly filling the position as an AmeriCorps Member. At first, I had brushed it off, planning to leave for college in Texas in less than a month. Luckily, my current site supervisor reached out to me and asked to meet up for a brief chat. Before I knew it, I was offering to volunteer at one of the pantry openings, and quickly fell in love with what they were doing for several hundred people each month. As I watched small children, single mothers, disabled individuals, etc. sit in the waiting room patiently, I was in absolute awe of how the staff had devoted their lives to take care of people that were so often swept under the rug. The tug at my heart to stay and serve with Volunteer Maryland was too great to ignore.

Serving as an AmeriCorps Member is a unique opportunity, and being right out of high school I am hoping to get a better idea of what I’d like to do with my life. I’m sure these 11 months will equip me with the skills to function as a working adult and give my resume something to make it really stand out on college and job applications. I’m also hoping to gain a deeper love and appreciation for the role that nonprofits play in taking care of people all over our country, and get the connections and skills I need to work in nonprofit if my heart keeps being pulled that way!”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry you can visit www.chesapeakechurch.org/foodpantry

If your organization would benefit from an AmeriCorps Member who would serve as volunteer coordinator please visit volunteer.maryland.gov for more details.

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