Program manager is also the nonprofit's de facto HR department, graphics person, fundraiser and the grant writer. "Working at a small nonprofit definitely gives one the opportunity to take on many different responsibilities," she says.
What do you do? I am the program manager for the Hunger Intervention Program (HIP). At HIP, we provide nutritious meals, basic cooking skills and nutrition education to underserved individuals in Seattle.
I oversee the weekly meal programs and create programs to meet the needs of the community, such as cooking-demonstration programs at food banks and the Healthy HIP Packs Program — a food backpack program providing weekend meals to kids at risk for hunger. I also work closely with local advocacy groups to push for food-policy change.
How did you get started? My love of food and cooking steered me to food-related jobs. I’m also passionate about advocating for everyone to have access to good food. I have a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington and am a registered dietitian. Prior to graduate school, I ran the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, one of the largest farmers’ markets in Southern California, and helped develop programs to support local farmers and promote access to local foods.
What’s a typical day like? My job really varies from day to day. Several days a week, I will oversee our volunteers preparing meals in our kitchen. Once a week, I lead a cooking class for our volunteers with developmental disabilities — a rare opportunity for them to cook for themselves. I also spend a good portion of my week writing grant applications, attending meetings and connecting with the local community.
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What’s the best part of the job? Hearing back from families helped by our programs. One child receiving a Healthy HIP Pack was so excited to have food to eat over the weekend that he immediately lined up the food in his pantry so it looked like his family had a lot of food. Moments like those really drive home why this work is important. A close second is working with our volunteers, who range in age from 3 to 90 years. Each one’s dedication to helping others inspires me every day.
What surprises people about your job? People are surprised by how many hats I wear. It always makes me laugh when someone says “have your HR person call me” or “can your graphic designer make a flyer for this?” I am the HR department, the graphics person, the fundraiser and the grant writer. Working at a small nonprofit definitely gives one the opportunity to take on many different responsibilities.